May 21, 2012

Entrepreneurial Fads

It is surprising how quickly entrepreneurs tune into the latest trends. As a group, we seem to do no better than other humans in our judgement. Remember “Second life”, or the now gone “beta” era? Here is a personal collection of fads that I grow tired of.

  1. Everything in the cloud.
    Fact is: I travel a lot. Whether it is on the train, on the plane, or any time I spend in other European countries: More often than not, I don‘t have high speed internet connection. So good bye, Google docs. Goodbye Apple mail. The success of dropbox, and in part evernote can be attributed to their ability to bridge offline times with great syncing.
  2. Co-working.
    As much as I like the idea of sharing (the relative success of 9flats is owed in part to the idea): Coworking does not work in my view. We tried with avocadostore. It was just plain stressful for people to be in a large and changing office environment. In my view, humans need consistency. They need their place, their space, their quiet zones. Coworking usually does not provide this.
  3. Open floor plan.
    Nearly every startup has it. The open floor plan office, with people not even in cubicles, but in rows of desks. Even the CEO – except: did you realise, the CEO never actually sits at his desk? He spends time in meeting rooms, where he can speak to people in private. I have worked in startups where the coffee shop nearby got rich by offering an anonymous setting for a private chat.
  4. Always on.
    Facebook, skype, twitter, whatsapp, email. We all know about the addiction this generates. We check every minute whether something important is being sent their way. Which seems to be an acknowledgement our their very existence. I have recently been partially successful in weaning myself off my mobile gadgets. The result? People start to wonder why I missed their emails for a private get together on a weekend.
  5. Social where there is no social.
    Some transactions benefit tremendously from social media. Others don‘t. I‘m not sure what why a detergent needs „likes“ in order to work.

All these things are great, and they work sometimes. But more often they do not.
Closed doors allow me to be more open with people. Sitting at my own desk makes me more comfortable. Sometimes social media is just a waste of money. Taking my work with me for and switch off my web connection often results in precious and productive solitude.

What are your favourite fads?

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Stephan Uhrenbacher

Coach for entrepreneurs, founder, speaker and author

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