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Cheap Thrills

Someone has to tell you the harsh truth. It’s me today. It’s been building inside for quite some time. So, I just decided to put it up on a blog post. I may not just get as popular, but I have the feeling that I might eventually help some — which is what I always intend.

If you are told to name 10 startups from this country which have reached global scale. You will probably have to stop at two or three. There aren’t manny. I have been following the startup culture in Bangladesh as a distant observer, despite not being in the country for a while and not being an active part of it. So, well what has all the buzz been for the past few years about? Hasn’t Digital Bangladesh caught up yet? With all the ramblings from the government , outpouring support, cash, IT zones, freelancer making initiatives?

I believe what we have been doing here is building a party centric culture. Running business competitions, throwing large IT conferences where most speakers are, in a sense, disconnected from their audiences. I have got that feeling after attending a few. Building IT zones outside the city is another example of how disconnected the government is. The sooner the government and stockholders realize that, you can not make more successful startups just by pouring more cash, awarding them or making them the Entrepreneur of the Year. Or, just by building a reward centric party culture.

Startup culture is quite different. The people who are really motivated to build great products are not the ones doing it for publicity. The real builders are hard at work from their basement building interesting staffs. You better target them and invest the cash into their ideas. Party culture will only take you so far. Stop rewarding the people who are in it for cheap thrills — who’s main goal is to win business competitions and earn a name, not building sustainable businesses. If you look closely, the Silicon Valley culture is a culture fostered by makers, not people wanting to put a face on TV.

While I am against party culture, I am not against publicity entirely. It’s always good to see hard working people getting featured and rewarded. Like, this week one of my favorite startup, JoomShaper got featured. They are one of the very few startups in this country building some real staffs for global market.