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Jack Woehr

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Industry Leading Lemmings

March 29, 2010

If every startup is the industry leader in their field, who is being led?It wasn't enough that gross mismanagement was already the norm in our industry, it had to be seasoned with horsefeather sauce. Every VP of Marketing in every one-horse startup is adjusting the snappy cuffs on his $1500 suit as he calmly assures the CEO that it is de rigueur to assert that LemmingSoft is the industry leader in ASS (Assisted Suicide Software) or whatever nonsensical business model human effort better expended on teaching french horn to Haitian refugees is being wasted upon writing an AJAX front end to.

Then everyone snaps to attention and salutes, and the result is ... you go to Craigslist to scan the job postings and any donkey-cart offering you $48,000 a year is suddenly the industry-bleeping-leader of whatever it is they think they do, or are telling their investors they are going to do before angel money is all burned up.

I've worked at eight startups in my career. None of them had any idea whatsoever from a financial/statistical point of view who or what was the "industry leader" since these are not INDUSTRIES they are STABS IN THE DARK.

Hey, startup guy/gal!! Your haircut says power, your suit says success, but at this point in the evolution of the software services industry, the appearance of the words "industry leader" in your corporate literature is roughly equivalent to placing a big yellow warning sign on your website, "Proceed with Caution, Morons Ahead".

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