The dark side of the Silicon Valley startup dream

Money! Coding! Beer! It's all fun in startup land, right? Well, not so much…

It started with a post – albeit one with a controversial title: I Got Scammed By A Silicon Valley Startup:

Stop for a moment and think about how you would feel after receiving some kind of confirmation that money you worked hard for is coming to you today after you’ve been waiting for over a month. Feels good and stress relieving, right? You’d want to celebrate. Now next imagine how you would feel after you realized you were not only lied to but considered dumb enough to fall for a ruse.

It’s a sobering story of the dark side of the Silicon Valley dream.

Over the next few days the truth started to leak out – and eventually the New York Times decided to report on – and name – the failing company:

While WrkRiot is not widely known, the start-up’s collapse has gripped Silicon Valley. Mr. Choi’s situation may be extreme, but the company’s implosion has a familiar ring to many who came west to be the next Mark Zuckerberg — but ended up instead at the next WrkRiot. Silicon Valley is always eager to celebrate its success stories, but the reality is that numerous tiny start-ups that few ever hear about form the tech industry’s dysfunctional underbelly.

It’s all too easy for us to get swept up by the excitement of startups and the role they play in our new world of Tech. But it’s even easier for us to forget that most of them fail – and that there is a very human cost to that failure. In one – long – post on Medium Penny Kim brought that human cost home again. And that’s why we need these occasional reminder that not all is rosy in the tech garden – as we suggested yesterday.

Only a few years ago, NEXT reminded everyone that Here Be Dragons. And at the end of the month, we’ll look at the hard end of the Digital Ego, not just the fluffy end…