Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Yes, if you promise something that you know you will probably never deliver, you are lying. Glad I could clear that up for you.

This Wired piece by Erin Griffith shows how the tech community is starting to come to terms with the damage that hype and magical heuristics have wrought. You should read the whole thing but the following seemed worth singling out.
Historically, the startup world’s “fake it till you make it” culture wasn’t a much of a problem; venture investors encouraged startup founders to think big and a high percentage of them fail anyway. So what if someone stretches the truth a little in pursuit of world domination? The nature of technology requires a degree of magical thinking to function. As I wrote in 2016, even the most well-intentioned startup founders have to persuade investors, engineers, and customers to believe in a future where their totally made-up idea will be real:

“That’s not ‘My cola tastes better than yours.’ That’s ‘Let me explain to you how the world’s going to be,’” says Chris Bulger, managing director at Bulger Partners, an investment bank that advises technology companies on acquisitions. “Is that person lying when they turn out to be wrong?”

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