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November 15, 2013

7 Myths About Startup Culture that Simply Aren’t True

Where are your dreams going?

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when bringing an idea from concept to fruition. One of the first challenges is to make the decision to become an entrepreneur. Today’s guest post by Ryan Currie, a product manager at, helps to dispel some of the thoughts that might prevent you from lauching a new venture.

Startups have somehow started to develop a reputation, a folklore, that’s as pervasive as skinny jeans in Silicon Valley. But some of the most commonly-accepted ideas about how startup culture really operates are simply untrue, and worse, damaging to startups’ credibility.

Where are your dreams going?

Where are your dreams going?

7 Entrepreneur Myths

Here are seven oft-repeated myths about startup culture that are, in a word, hogwash.

  1. Most successful startups are founded by wunderkind.

    Not even close. Did you know that most entrepreneurs start (and close) two businesses on average before ever landing on anything remotely close to success? Mark Zuckerbergs aren’t the norm in the land of startups, they’re the exception. In reality, most successful startups only take off after months (or years) of dedicated hard work.

  2. Most startups are run by 20-somethings on skateboards.

    It’s true, many of the most talked about startups are run by young, inexperienced founders, but study after study has shown that in terms of creating a long term, sustainable business model the “peak” age is 34 years old.

  3. Successful startups nowadays are all about technology.

    If you think every startup office has a monitor scrolling Google analytics data 24/7, you’re wrong. Some of the coolest startups aren’t actually tech-centric at all – take, for example, Naked Granola. Founded by two college-aged entrepreneurs, Naked got off the ground being pedaled door-to-door at grocery stores and recently sold to Kelloggs for millions. Nothing high tech about that.

  4. Every startup office has a foosball table and nap pods.

    We can all thank Google for this one. Sure, plenty of ‘cool’ startups like to lure in talent with office perks but there are plenty more startup businesses operating 9-5 in window-less cubicles across the country. These businesses may not have the capital or the desire for all the extras, and it just may make them more focused.

  5. All the good startups are in San Francisco.

    The Bay Area is the inarguable capital of startup culture in the U.S. but plenty of other mid-sized cities are aiming for a piece of the startup pie. Pittsburgh, Portland, and Austin all have flourishing startup communities within their borders.

  6. The goal of every startup is to one day sell for millions.

    Sure, money’s a great incentive for many entrepreneurs, but lots of startups are founded with the goal of actually making a great product or service and seeing it through. Startups don’t uniformly “sell out” when they hit a certain break-even point.

  7. Most startups are founded by really charming people who are good at promotion.

    In fact, just the opposite. The smartest startup founders realize their own shortcomings early on and hire other great people to compensate. There are plenty of founders that would rather write code all day and leave the marketing to someone else.

There are plenty of pervasive myths about startup culture that really don’t have many roots in reality. For every Groupon-esque hipster office, there are five more people working 20-hours a day from their mom’s basement. That kind of diversity is a good thing.

Ryan Currie is a product manager at, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.

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