Many people use the magical keyword #Startup as an encompassing definition of all sort of economic enterprise.
Technically, though, specific and distinctive criteria define what a StartUp is, such as: the speed of growth, the degree of technological innovation, and the potential of scaling.
So, why this confusion?
And more importantly, is this confusion what bothers our friend from Israel – the StartUp Nation – so much?
What seems to bother is rather the combination of two phenomena, which tend to follow any successful event of the digital age: a non human injection of venture capitalism (VC) and a highly illegal dose of conformism.
What do these two phenomena have to do with communicating in Europe?
Audience Advantage – sales workshop
Duration: 1:06 minutes
It’s not the Internet age that killed western countries’ middle class.
It is the economic deregulation, which starts in the seventies – as a reaction to students, women, and workers’ protest – and yields inequality in economy, disparity in education, stratification in society (well, in less than 280 characters, at least).
The consequent gradual impoverishment and fear of loss of status, for the sons and daughters of that middle class, put the post-postmaterialist generation in an awkward position: to keep their ideals high, they need a huge amount of money.
On one side, venture capitalists invest money in Elon-Musk-type empty futurologism, to let the stream of money generate more money;
on the other side, a doomed-to-failure mass participate in a perennial talent show to be the successful “one in a million.”
Steve Jobs becomes a symbol of both the tech-entrepreneurial genius and the hypocritical face of high financial margins in Wall Street and cheap labor in Asia.
Street artist Banksy can take recursive advantage of this feeling to depict him in the image here, which at its turns reinforce Banksy’s own twofold public image of street-art industrial exploiter and pop-anarchist anti-global rebel.
Thinking different has never been that easy!
And it is amazing how this mantra of anti-conformism – think different! – epitomizes the exact opposite today.
Let’s coop – SmartBE
Duration: 2:19 minutes
The plague of conformism
In this erratic mix of revolution and counter-revolution, it is not the ideas any more nor the clash of classes, it is the life style.
In this global world of trends and topics, it is not the work or the merit to make a difference: it is the positioning and the branding.
In this digital age of hyper-connection and hyper-alienation, unless they are willing to join a Fight Club (maybe they should), people have one major choice to make: whether they lead or they follow.
The problem is to understand whether it is really possible or not to have the “right idea” to become a millionaire without being a millionaire already.
“Of course!” tech-enthusiasts would say “look at how many young entrepreneurs, who turned to Silicon Valley’s richest entrepreneurs..blabla.”
Which is true, but looks more like a lottery.
It is not the mathematical percentage of winning but the inner belief that another life is possible.
The Partisan II – trailer
Duration: 1:39 minutes
You are the product
“If it comes for free, then you are the product.”
Silicon Valley’s ideology applies on many levels: for instance, the amazing apps that one can download for free on a smartphone.
Another great underlying industry, which the Start Up world has created, is the range of advertising, communication, and incubation services, which start ups need to purchase to advance in their rat race: the bill for dreams has to be paid in advance.
What is difficult, though, is to think of a world of hope for the new generations, which does not carry this heavy burden of disenchantment and resentment towards a world of lies with the constant threat of failure. Which has the merit to move money and, by extent, to move the world as such.
So, fuck you, StartUp world!
Fuck this circus, for sure.
But then, what?
Once having the “right idea” to become a millionaire is literally the only possible strawberry field (forever), the same idea of “common action” behind the term “communication” loses all semantic and political meaning.
Can anything other than an illusion – call it dictatorship of proletarians or human colonies on Mars – be the engine of the professional world of digital communications?
And can the European institutions, which a few years ago have suddenly embraced the social network flow with the enthusiasm of a Millennial, avoid the same mistake of following trending topics and tools, rather than leading?