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It’s a fucking startup. Why are you here? (betashop.com)
56 points by yoseph 377 days ago | 26 comments



Lame. 2011 called and wants its entrepreneurial war stories back. Stories with "suffering" and "struggle" where all in the employees are "all in", but not sharing the profits of course, oh and you can be cut or fired anytime, while your out of touch CEO/founder is having the time of his life.

I think I have grown an internal immunity from this bs. (Or maybe I am just older and more mature now).

What does fab do this days anyway?

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Agreed. That's what I was thinking as I was reading through his diatribe. Asking me to live and breathe the job is all good but if I'm not getting to share in the rewards the same as you then you're really just asking me to be your slave and make you rich. I wonder what their compensation/equity structure is.

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Phew. Thanks guys. I am not in US, not even in proper Europe, so I was wondering if this is somewhat common for 'startups'. Comments (edit: comments here on HN) say the right thing.

'Share my enthusiasm but not my profit' and even worse 'write me an essay about that' is more fitting to north corea way of behaving.

This is not the way to keep quality people for long.

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What do they do? E-commerce, apparently:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fab.com

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It must be an age thing. I feel the same.

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I take this as a positive sign that Hacker News is working.

I suffered through reading this post which contains such gems as: "Have you ever been clinging onto a rocket ship, then cut the engines at full speed, and then tried to fly again?" because it was on the front page of Hacker News. When I refreshed the site a couple minutes later it was mercifully off the front page.

I'm curious how it got front page to begin with but I'm glad it didn't last long.

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I read it with the same reaction that you did, but I did read it: because it was interesting.

In the end I was considering whether the remaining staff are being abused, judged on subjective measures such as being "here for the right reasons", with their jobs under threat no matter how good their work is. It sets a tone of being awfully threatening to the staff, who must already have suffered through the uncertainty.

I was left wondering if any member of Jason's team would dare to give a negative or neutral answer to his question. Did he only publish the answers that he wanted to hear, or did he only get the answers that he wanted to hear.

I'm sure many people on HN would find this an interesting read and it's a shame that this won't be more widely seen.

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My initial reaction was that he is qualifying his company with a swear word. Everyone is free to interpret how it was meant, but still.

Then this quote

> I want to build a company that touches millions and millions of people in a positive way and is known as one of the great companies of our time.

This made me think about Steve Job talking to Apple employees at his return. Throwing the Michael Dell quotes at the employees, and telling them that they shouldn't stay for the salaries, and from there it will be as tough as it can be grow back.

Apple is considered a great company, and it touches millions of people in a positive way, my household is full of Apple products. But Steve Jobs was a douchebag, there was the no poach thing going on, there seems to have been a lot of verbal and psychological abuse to reach their level of perfection, and I don't think everyone (the server side guys working on iCloud for instance) were very happy of their jobs.

Some people are attracted by this kind of culture, and I don't deny it can have wonderful results. But is it something to be proud of, and acknowledge as a sane or needed state?

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I believe "No"

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I'm curious: at what point do we stop calling a company a "startup"? A company that has 750 employees (as Fab had before their restructuring) and has existed for three years sounds like a somewhat mature medium-sized company that has accumulated a substantial amount of inertia and bureaucracy (a horde of middle managers, an HR department, etc.). When I think of startups, I think of at most a few dozen employees struggling to get their first product to profitability.

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I would say a "startup" is a a company trying to find a business model that is scalable & repeatable. I would go as far as argue that a startup is any company pre Series funding i.e. seed.

Series A funding investor expectations are for the company to grow/scale. At that & subsequent funding phases the startup should be called a business. Not a startup.

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Apparently, Fab is up to Series C ($105 million in July, 2012):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fab.com#Funding

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Call me jaded, but when a company that hit 750 staff and then loses 2/3 of them says "it's a fucking startup" I don't read that as genuine or motivational.

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I totally agree with you too... "startup" term is becoming an umbrella to cover up bad decisions or situations nowadays for founders. "Startup" should be a phase and a culture for companies. It should not be the excuse of bad days...

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Bad days always happen, mistakes are always made, nothing ever goes according to plan. If you don't fail some of the time, you're not taking big enough risks. Jason's post attracts people that understand this to work for Fab - clearly you're not his target audience :)

And yes, I would demand equity and compensation commensurate with the risk being taken and the effort being put in. No-one is promoting slave labor here.

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>Bad days always happen, mistakes are always made, nothing ever goes according to plan. If you don't fail some of the time, you're not taking big enough risks. Jason's post attracts people that understand this to work for Fab - clearly you're not his target audience :)

Taking smart risks doesn't always pan out, and tolerance for failure is necessary. But failure by itself isn't an indicator of greatness. Carl Sagan put it best:

>But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

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Yep. All it says management was incompetent, didn't know what they were doing, hired a bunch of people, and f-ed up their lives.

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Completely agree with you.

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Translation:he wants everyone to work hard, to pay them little and fire them when he needs to cut costs some more.

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That's what I got from it as well.

He even threw in this "No true Scotsman:"

"If you’re a real startup person, this is the best time to be at Fab."

i.e. No true startup-loving engineer would think it's a bad time to be at Fab.

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In response to this http://betashop.com/post/83511727379/lets-talk-about-risk-st...

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he is trying too hard to sound like Ben Horowitz who he has admitted is his mentor, there is nothing original with this blog post

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Making employees justify why they are there?

How about why did you convince 750 people to put their faith in you then fumble the ball so badly you had to sack 400 of them...

The post comes across too much like a dad-trying-to-be-cool moment.

"We are a start-up, I need 18 hour days from everybody. Now that we have lost sight of our objectives we need to redouble our efforts!"

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Also, I think it's bullshit. There's no way that an overworked person said: "Fab has this insanely rare combination of having huge potential AND giving me the opportunity to have an outsized impact on it."

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I started reading this expecting not to like it, because a lot of blog posts with gratuitous F bombs in the title are by morons. Totally not the case here. Plenty of honesty and inspiration. +1

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Can you share some of that inspiration?

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