A few weeks ago a Kickstarter project called ClassRealm showed up on my radar. I was instantly interested in it because I’ve previously worked with the startup’s UX guy, and simply put, he’s got skills.
If you know my personal objections to the current education bubble in formal college education, it’s obvious why I’d be interested in a process enhancement to primary education, and especially one that came at it from a new-ish angle.
Even without the personal connection, I’d still be interested. There’s an innate value to the startup mindset in Indiana, and it’s the shared culture that says “Hey, I’ve got your back.” It’s one of the easiest things in the world to tweet and share a new concept, so I find myself doing so for projects like ClassRealm.
There are others in the community who go out of their way to support the startup scene. Their company cultures and personal contributions come readily to mind. If you aren’t familiar with these companies, you should be.
The irksome title of this post however, is aimed at a very specific response that I got when trying to raise local awareness about the project. The short summation of the message I received was this:
“They’ve got a better chance of getting X into schools than that. Interesting idea though.”
At first glance, not a very negative response – but not supportive either.
Here’s my beef – startup founders and entrepreneurs risk their time, energy and hard earned money to form new companies, often times aimed at solving problems and making the world a better place to be. If you aren’t helping them, or at least offering constructive criticism, go away.
It has to do with that simple lesson your mother may or may not have taught you…’if you don’t have anything nice to say.’
I’m reminded of what speaker Ed Eppley had to say about entrepreneurs. During his talk at the 2011 Rocky Mountain YP Summit, he made an adamant statement that I’m now paraphrasing 6 months later.
Entrepreneurs are the saviors of the American economy. I applaud anyone creating new jobs and risking their capital in doing so.
I don’t think I realized it at the time, but most young entrepreneurs don’t know what risk is. We don’t have families to provide for, mortgages and car payments to sweat. Now I realize that it would be much easier, fiscally speaking, to take a job and scoot along until middle age, insanity, retirement or outright demise. Not rewarding at all, but fiscally easier.
I return to the haters. Bad ideas abound, surely, but if a startup is asking for $5 to further public education – trash the armchair commentary and give them $20. Better yet, tell your network about it while you do it.
So comments – was my reaction on par or did I overreact?