Steve Cisler on Fri, 7 Mar 2003 03:34:35 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Post Tulipomania humor

Post Tulipomania <>  humor

Survivor, Silicon Valley-style
By Alan Feinberg
Posted on Tue, Mar. 04, 2003 story:PUB_DESC

IT seems like you can't turn on the TV these days without seeing a
so-called ``reality'' show. The trouble with these shows is that
there's nothing real about them.

 From my perspective, reality has nothing to do with swallowing live
slimy things (unless you're in Japan) or arm wrestling for food
(unless you're in Texas).

The real world for many of us in the Bay Area is defined by
start-ups. So I propose that we create our own reality show starring
local tribes of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Let's call it ``Survivor, Silicon Valley.''

First we'll meet our tribe of intrepid entrepreneurs: Bob, a
UC-Berkeley MSEE and former design engineer; Chen, from National
Taiwan University; Lois, a newly minted Stanford MBA; Krishna, a
software engineer and graduate of the Indian Institute of
Technology; and Sanjay, another IIT alum and MIT Ph.D.

Our opposing tribe of VCs consists of chief Don and his band of
nameless associates.

The first challenge takes place on a large sand hill. Don is seated
on an elaborate throne at the top. At the bottom of the hill,
entrepreneurs clad in logo shirts use an intricate contraption made
out of old elevator parts to pitch their business plans up the hill
toward Don, only to have them bounce off the impervious crystal dome
that surrounds him. In between, Don's associates pick through
rotting piles of executive summaries scattered across the sand.

Suddenly, one of these associates heads directly for Sanjay. The VC
whispers three magic words: ``Keep me informed.'' He then disappears
into a deep hole in the sand, never to be seen again. Sanjay dashes
off to his office to tell his employees that an investor is actually
interested in funding their plan. Little does he know that, at the
end of the first day, he's already been voted out of the valley.

For our next challenge the scene shifts to a parking lot where a
large circus tent has been constructed. Fueled by double espressos,
Chen, Lois, Krishna and Bob have been running around the tent in
circles since dawn. Meanwhile, smiling clowns dressed in blue shirts
and khakis set fire to giant hoops with names like ``disruptive
technology'' and ``traction.''

With great fanfare, Don -- now the master of ceremonies -- steps
into the center ring. As he cracks his huge leather whip, Lois jumps
high in the air, barely clearing the ``financial projections'' hoop.
Badly singed and resigned to her fate she mutters: ``But my numbers
are conservative!'' while the associates crack jokes about her
``burn rate.''

Before the others have a chance to cool off, the venture tribe
surprises them by unveiling another set of fiery hoops hidden in a
similar tent around the corner and another set after that. Our
entrepreneurs go well into the night jumping through hoops that seem
to materialize out of nowhere.

Subsequent challenges include ``monkey marketing,'' in which
blindfolded entrepreneurs try to steal bananas from an 800-pound
gorilla and ``the term-sheet tango,'' a marathon dance contest
between the tribes.

On the last day, survivors Chen and Krishna are thrown into a slimy
pit filled with -- you guessed it -- lawyers. As the terrified tribe
members stand knee deep in legal bills, giant leeches with names
like ``liquidation preferences'' are attached to their backs.
Afterward, they're banished to their offices to await word of their
fate from the mighty VC tribal council, otherwise known as the
``partner's meeting.''

Sound like fun? If you're still brave enough -- or crazy enough --
to play ``Survivor, Silicon Valley,'' then I'd like to congratulate
you. You have the makings of a true entrepreneur.

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