David Heinmeier ha creato Ruby on Rails e fondato, più di dieci anni fa, Basecamp. Basecamp è un software per coordinare e collaborare su un progetto, recentemente completamente ridisegnato. Basecamp ha avuto negli anni un discreto successo, ma non ha mai disruptato nulla, né è mai diventato un unicorn ricevendo milioni su milioni da investitori.

E, scrive David, va bene così. Va bene fondare una startup senza nemmeno avere l’ambizione di possedere tutto — e purtroppo questa cosa va specificata perché il gergo degli investitori, e le loro aspirazioni, sembrano essere diventate le uniche possibili aspirazioni di qualsiasi startup dei giorni nostri.

In un recente post David Heinmeier racconta come la narrazione della Silicon Valley stia rovinando l’ambiente delle startup, presentandosi come l’unica possibile via di successo:

It didn’t disrupt anything. It didn’t add any new members to the three-comma club. It was never a unicorn. Even worse: There are still, after all these years, less than fifty people working at Basecamp. We don’t even have a San Francisco satellite office!

I know what you’re thinking, right? BOOOORING. Why am I even listening to this guy? Isn’t this supposed to be a conference for the winners of game startup? Like people who’ve either already taken hundreds of million in venture capital or at least are aspiring to? Who the hell in their right mind would waste more than a decade toiling away at a company that doesn’t even have a pretense of an ambition for Eating The World™.

Well, the reason I’m here is to remind you that maybe, just maybe, you too have a nagging, gagging sense that the current atmosphere of disrupt-o-mania isn’t the only air a startup can breathe. That perhaps this zeal for disruption is not only crowding out other motives for doing a startup, but also can be downright poisonous for everyone here and the rest of the world.

Padlet ne racconta l’ambiente, in maniera ironica:

Alex: I have a startup. We are Yelp for contractors.
Ben: I have a startup too. We are contractors for Yelp.
Together: Business model … yada yada yada Paul Graham … Series A … lorem ipsum Google sucks.

This, in itself, is not a problem; I enjoy these conversations. The problem is that they often render you incapable of any other forms of communication. E.g.:

Girlfriend’s dad: Great weather today.
Ben: Yeah. It’s beautiful.
[Longer pause]
Ben: So I see you use an iPhone. Android sucks, huh?

Sul BackChannel (Medium), Aaron Zamost descrive la ciclicità degli eventi con cui il percorso di una startup viene narrato dai media:

A company’s narrative moves like a clock: it starts at midnight, ticking off the hours. The tone and sentiment about how a business is doing move from positive (sunrise, midday) to negative (dusk, darkness). And often the story returns to midnight, rebirth and a new day.

Storia e ambizioni future di Dropbox, raccontate da WIRED:

It was November 2006. While waiting at Boston’s South Station for a bus to New York, he realized he’d left the thumb drive containing the files he needed in his apartment. Now he was about to be stuck on a bus for four hours, time he’d planned to spend working on the SAT-prep startup he had founded after graduating in 2005. Instead of cursing his luck and taking a nap, however, Houston started coding a version of what would become Dropbox’s signature folder