You are right - this is exactly what I DID expect would happen - even though it was sold to us as a documentary on a business channel. Unfortunately, every company in our TechStars class was forced to participate. So, the decision for all of us was: drop out of TechStars or do the show.
I did not have to show up last night. But I also did not want Bloomberg to be able to guide / direct the last word on ToVieFor. In addition, Tisch and Cohen fought VERY hard to make sure the finale episode was positive, which I knew ahead of time. They felt just as disappointed and betrayed by Bloomberg as I.
We've been working hard on our application to TS Cloud and this story gave me reason to pause. When the series started I was super excited - I hoped it would be a real look into the program we hope to go through. After the second episode it became obvious it was all about the drama. I watched the rest of the series, but by the end I was pretty confused by the whole thing.
Please do not let the show color your opinion of TechStars. I would do the program over in a heartbeat, and made lifelong friends and mentors along the way. Tisch / Cohen / Feld and the entire organization is fantastic.
Definitely agree with this. TechStars should have had veto power over the final product. That's a clearly rookie mistake.
I would be shocked if PG allowed a program like this about YC to air.
I don't think you can argue that Bloomberg is in the wrong. They are a media house. They have to create drama to sell the show.
TS should have had better contracts to enforce more editorial control over the end-product.
I have just watched 2 episodes, and David Tisch looks like a real douchebag that seems to be acting like a dick for the camera.
This also feels less like a 'mentoring' program, where people are helping you make your startup success and more like "I (Tisch) know all the answers. Listen to me or you are gonna fail."
Definitely not the type of environment I would want to build my company in. The very point of being an entrepreneur is so that you can control your own destiny, not trade your corporate overlord boss to some entitled investor that thinks he knows everything.
The show was supposed to portray TS in a good light, and even the Davids are taken back by this reaction.
As one of our investors (in the interest of full disclosure), Tisch is awesome. He's always looking out for the best for his companies, either as personal investments or TS companies. I'm also sure none of the TS companies would say the program was a net negative, rather than a net positive.
As for the mentoring aspect, what Bloomberg didn't show is that the entire 1st month of TS is spent with 40-60 mentor meetings so you find the best mentors for your company. Tisch and Cohen are there to keep you on track from an investor's perspective, but they heavily rely on their mentors to keep you on track.
David Tisch, David Cohen, and the other dozens mentors who helped us during the program have been amazing. They stayed in the office with us until late at night. And you can hear our comments about them on TV in different occasions, even in the finale.
Maybe Bloomberg exaggerated a bit the personalities of everyone (e.g., Jason of OnSwipe is great to be around, he jokes a lot) but the TechStars program in itself was great.
And if you do not like people criticizing your idea, you probably shouldn't be an entrepreneur, because that will happen a lot. And that's ok. It's your job to listen and figure out if they are right, or convince them if they are wrong.