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Startups and the Big Lie

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One of the lesser-publicized facts of the recent hacking of the Ashley Madison website, is that nearly all of the female accounts were fake -- created by the company to make it look like the site was active and popular:

This seems to be the standard operating procedure of website these days, where seeming to be popular is a necessary first lie.
-mouser (August 29, 2015, 02:41 PM)
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I remember when the internet explosion was happening.  I checked out a few of the dating sites.  Membership was free.  But communicating with women cost money.  I got these invites from women with pictures.  It was obvious that the women who posed for the pictures would not have any trouble getting dates.  More like they would have trouble keeping undesirable guys from communicating.  I never sent a communication because I was sure the scam was send invites to suckers(er, I mean male clients of the service) to get them to pay to send messages to the babes.  Then the babes beg off for some contrived reason.  They have to because they are fictional characters.  It is not worth the effort to try to get $5 or $10 back so the suckers just cancel the service.  Same old scam, new ad copy.  :)
-MilesAhead (August 29, 2015, 03:15 PM)
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I also used the dating services and still do once in a while.  Once you do it, you develop an eye for what is real and what isn't.  From my own experiences, 80% of profiles are unreliable.  Most of them are straight up fake.  if they are not fake, there are pretty significant lies going on regarding their relationship status.  There are also a ton of lies in how people represent themselves.  So my conclusion after the whole thing was that it's fun to try once in a while, I got some dates out of it.  Some were good, most were not.  But that's real life also.  Ultimately, I felt they didn't make anything easier for me.

Now, on the flip side, I have had friends who have had success with these things, including long committed relationships, and even marriage ina couple of cases.  The difference was this...most of them paid for the premium services.  if they didn't, then there were factors like this some non-urban places, it's hard to meet people, or there just aren't a lot of people (small towns).  So in those cases, these things work better because there is more of a genuine intention behind it.  In a huge urban environment like a los angeles, they don't work well at all IMO.  Because the girls are already being hit on constantly in every kind of, offline, gym, street, work, etc.  Same with the men to an extent.  So for some reason, it just doesn't work well.  at least it doesn't make anything easier. 

Now, the exception is NY.  For some reason, for a guy, NY is great for dating online.  i don't know why.  LA is terrible, NY is unbelievable.

Often it feels to me like economic success is one big pyramid scheme... Here's an article about the central role lying plays in the startup model where companies raise billions based on a mirage of get-rich-quick success they create.

They have little choice. Funding is contingent on growth, but that growth can only happen if no one really understands the funding situation. Founders have to tell the lie – that everything is fine, that a feature is going to launch even though the engineer for that feature hasn’t been hired yet, that payroll will run even though the VC dollars are still nowhere on the horizon.

Lying is a requisite and daily part of being a founder, the grease that keeps the startup flywheel running.

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-mouser (August 02, 2015, 12:02 AM)
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Would the flip side of the coin, be the 'entrepreneur' who specializes in buying big financially healthy businesses or factories, then laying everyone off and selling off all the assets at a profit?

For example: James Garner in Cash McCall.

For example: James Garner in Cash McCall.

-bit (August 29, 2015, 10:10 PM)
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One of my favorite films and books.  Of course in the story McCall doesn't plunder businesses.  He builds them up then sells them at a profit.  Kind of like The Loan Ranger shooting the gun out of the bad guy's hand instead of just plugging the guy through the heart.

But I did enjoy pissing off some chefs by ordering "a burnt steak" in various restaurants.  Actually if you can get them to burn it the taste is rather like steaks at a cookout.

...all those companies that served the needs of startups back in the 90s (Dell, OfficeMax, Staples, Kinkos, Steelcase, etc.).
-40hz (August 25, 2015, 01:06 PM)
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Dell?  Dell was started (as PC's Limited) in 1984, changed its name to Dell in 1987 and went public in 1988. It didn't really become a major player itself until the early 90's.

And if any company illustrates the need to lie to grow a startup, it's Dell.

In the mid to late 80s, when tech publications ran regular comparisons of personal computers, PC's Limited systems could only be ordered direct from Michael Dell, and he made sure they got hand tuned souped up systems that outperformed the off-the shelf systems they got from major manufacturers.  As a result, Dell's PCs won every benchmark for a while (until the other companies wised up) and became the standard others were judged by.  But unless you worked for PC Magazine or PC World, you could not get a system from Dell that performed like that.

-xtabber (August 29, 2015, 02:29 PM)
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Hmm, if I had known that I would have purchased all my PCs from Neil J. Rubenking.  ;)

-MilesAhead (August 29, 2015, 02:36 PM)
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Actually, it was Bill Machrone, who was editor-in-chief at PC Mag at the time, who explained what Dell had been doing and put in place controls to prevent manufacturers from gaming the system that way.


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