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Businesses The Almighty Buck

At Burning Man While Your Startup Burns (techcrunch.com) 199

There's a difference between clearing your head, and ditching your dying startup to do drugs in the desert. From a report: Whether you're going to Burning Man, Ibiza, SXSW, or some big international tech conference, the message you send is the same. If your startup isn't succeeding, you're skipping out on the dirty work while hoping some miracle revelation or networking connection will save you. And it probably won't. For those less familiar, Burning Man is when 70,000 people build a temporary city of tents and RVs in the Nevada desert where no money is exchanged, and instead everyone seeks to gift strangers with giant art installations, workshops, food, drinks, and celebrations. But I get a sinking feeling when I notice or hear about the leaders of a struggling startup trying to dance or dose away their troubles. Being out of a contact for several days to a week since there's no reliable cellular connection and a stigma against phone use creates a decision-making bottleneck that can slow down your company. Ex-Oculus founder Palmer Luckey here points out how juice presser startup Juicero's founder Doug Evans took off to Burning Man for week. That's despite the company recently admitting it needed to lower prices after Bloomberg reporters revealed you could simply squeeze Juicero juice packs by hand without the $400 machine. In the middle of that week Evans was at Burning Man, Juicero announced it would suspend sales of its juicer and juice packs as it desperately tries to find an acquirer. While Evans handed over the CEO title to former Coca-Cola exec Jeff Dunn late last year, the company told TechCrunch "Evans is Juicero's full time Founder and Chairman of the Board and very active within the company."
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At Burning Man While Your Startup Burns

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  • Work 24/7! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:03AM (#55159401) Homepage

    Shouldn't people be allowed to take vacations? I have no problem with this.

    • Re: Work 24/7! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. Startup founders owe their investors and employees more than the typical 9-5er like you.

      You get yo go home to get drunk or play with your kids. They do not.

      • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:13AM (#55159505)
        You're damn right they don't! I catch Elon Musk getting drunk and playing with my kids I will shoot his mutant-looking ass!
      • Re: Work 24/7! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:26AM (#55159601)

        There's a wee bit of difference between getting drunk for an evening and a week of vacation with no phone coverage at all, in the days most crucial for the company's survival (in this case, getting bought out so they can continue to scam).

        It's like a sysape going on a trip right after your company's servers got broken into and wiped, while machines meant for backup are sitting in a closet not even been set up despite having been purchased a year ago.

        • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

          There's a wee bit of difference between getting drunk for an evening and a week of vacation with no phone coverage at all, in the days most crucial for the company's survival

          He's been posting burning man pics to his Instagram feed while he's at Burning Man, so why assume he's completely out of contact? Evans isn't even the CEO, he's handed that off to someone else, so he may be letting the real CEO call the shots.

          • Gotta love a rubric to punish a specific startup exec whose bad idea and business practices are likely what's screwing his ops and investors.

            If he wants to go to the burn, fine. There was WiFi, and cellular data, and even voice service, albeit all three were shaky. So is the service in Cancun around New Year.

            The post is about the observations of an abused investor, and not necessarily about responsibility. Nothing to see here. Move on.

      • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

        The company was fucked. Hell why not?

    • Re:Work 24/7! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:11AM (#55159487)

      CEOs shouldn't vacation while their company is failing.

      On the other hand, when your company is essentially running a scam that has been uncovered, I don't think there's much for a CEO to do except get the hell out ASAP with as much money as they can extract.

      I think if you're watching your scam's easy money dry up, you might want to get stoned in the desert for a while to avoid thinking about the sudden and likely long-term drop in standard of living you're going to have in the future.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bobbied ( 2522392 )

        CEOs shouldn't vacation while their company is failing.

        From my perspective, what a CEO should or shouldn't do us up to the people who hired them. Assuming the Board Of Directors hired the CEO, it's up to the board to decide when it is appropriate for said CEO to vacation and when it's not. If the CEO hired themselves (I.E. own the company) it's up to them and/or their investors to decide.

        All the rest of this "debate" amounts to little more than class envy, where the "have not's" are bad mouthing the obviously bad rich CEO's...

        • Re:Work 24/7! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:38AM (#55159673)

          I never claimed authority over him, just the right of armchair quarterbacking.

          If you're responsible for making a business work and you walk away while it is floundering, that's not really fulfilling your responsibilities. Whether that's fine with the stakeholders or not for some reason doesn't make it optimal.

          That's not class envy.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by spun ( 1352 )

          What a suckup. Is there a term for white knighting rich CEOs? You know that no CEO guy is going to shower you with riches for giving his anus a tongue bath, right?

          • > You know that no CEO guy is going to shower you with riches for giving his anus a tongue bath, right?

            Sometimes you get to marry their relatively hot daughter, with the business access and probable inheritance that implies.

            Of course... you risk getting thrown under the bus when the father-in-law doesn't feel like going to jail for conspiring to collude with Russia to meddle in an election.

        • Yeah, I can't imagine why people would badmouth an obvious scam artist, while the rest of us are forced to be productive members of society for substantially less. You can't simply handwave such criticisms as merely "class envy," because those feelings are justified.
          • Who's bad mouthing him? We're bad mouthing his idiot investors. More power to him. It would have been an immoral act to let the suckers keep their money.

      • "While their company is tanking."

        A HUGE CAVEAT you've missed inside the middle of your words.

        How LONG are we talking about both the [vacation] and the [period the company is in danger]. If you actually cut your logic into the two extremes, both have obvious answers.

        If the company is crisis this week / month, taking LONG vacations is obvious a bad thing. Some guy partying 90% of the time is a dickhole. ::cough:::Reddit staff (see "Internets Own Boy") ::cough:: But a few days to clear your head when you're th

      • by doom ( 14564 )

        Baron_Yam wrote:

        CEOs shouldn't vacation while their company is failing.

        Yes, he should keep his nose to the grindstone until he comes up with a deranged vegetable juicer concept that will let his inverstors skim some cash off of rich fucks even crazier than they are.

        If capitalism crashes down around us, it's going to be all Burning Man's fault.

    • Re:Work 24/7! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:22AM (#55159569)

      Shouldn't people be allowed to take vacations? I have no problem with this.

      Yes people should be allowed to take vacations. Not under all circumstances.

      When you are an entrepreneur and you take money from an investor you are not just like any other employee of the company. You are getting a deal other employees don't get. You get a bigger payout in return for a bigger commitment.

      As an investor I would say: if you are hitting the planned milestones (i.e. investor return) then do whatever you want. If you are not generating a return or not hitting the milestones then you do nothing except those activities that will increase the likelihood of getting a return. Traipsing of to BM for a week does not count and is in fact the opposite. Think about how that looks to any potential buyer.

      An entrepreneur has to have many qualifications but a sense of entitlement is not one of them.

    • If you get sick

      The courts ruled that all European workers are entitled to their full vacation after they have healed:

      “A worker who becomes unfit during his paid annual leave, is entitled at a later point to a period of leave of the same duration as that of his sick leave.”

      • Do hangovers count? The brits will never run out of vacation time if hungover days count as sick time. Their weekends would be near endless.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Shouldn't people be allowed to take vacations? I have no problem with this.

      Whilst your company is going down the tubes, you're damn straight an exec should not be on holiday. But hey, at least this guy is consistent, consistently a douche-bag, but consistent.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everybody need some break from work. And frankly being at work without a solution just shuffling paper around would not help either. You gotta be American thinking you gotta work 110% of your time and have success. Hint : success is 10% sweat, 30% connection, and 60% luck. Beside that Juicero was a stupid product for stupid people, not taking one day off will not help it, it is by now a dead product.
    • I want one, for the parts. Ave took that thing apart, apparently the $400 juicer cost at least $1000 to make.

      BTW: 110% = 25% mon-thur + 10% fri

      Only way I can get to 110%

      • The funny thing... the idea is not so bad. Of course, the juicer part is built extremely well, and would have to be redesigned to be cheaper, but it could have wound up being the next K-cup standard, especially if the juicer was priced around $199 with various models, and juice bags sold not just by subscription, but at grocery stores.

        However, it was the concern of DRM, the fact that it only could use bags from the maker, and the very limited supply of juice bags available that killed this product. Had ba

    • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:12AM (#55159495)

      "success is 10% sweat, 30% connection, and 60% luck."

      That attitude explains why a lot of people fail and then bemoan failing but won't take ownership of their own failure.

      My success is 80% sweat, 1% connection and 19% luck.

      Luck comes in two varieties: good and bad. You need to be prepared to take advantage of the good luck and resilient enough to keep pushing through the bad luck.

      Stop thinking that other people are succeeding because of their connections and luck. Your attitude is just excuse making. Start putting in the sweat to make things happen and stick with it. Good things take a lot of time and work.

      • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:34AM (#55159647)

        My success is 80% sweat, 1% connection and 19% luck.

        While I agree with this, I'd like to make two observations:

        First, the difference between someone who succeeds and someone who fails is that the one who succeeds doesn't give up after each failure. I've known quite a lot of very successful people, but I've never met a single one who hasn't left a string of failures behind them on the way.

        Second, what people call "luck" isn't. One thing that stands out to me about people who are "lucky" is that they have a skill that can be somewhat subtle. All of us are surrounded by opportunities of all sorts, every day. We don't notice or recognize the majority of them (and, truthfully, most of them aren't of interest to us).

        People who are "lucky" are people who are better at noticing these opportunities and taking advantage of them.

        • by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:45AM (#55159731) Homepage

          First, the difference between someone who succeeds and someone who fails is that the one who succeeds doesn't give up after each failure.

          The determining factor between someone succeeding and failing is their definition of "success".

          • We are all winners if the goal is living in the parental basement.

          • This is an incredibly astute observation. There are many valid definitions of "success". When I use the term, I mean "achieved the intended goal".

            • by gnick ( 1211984 )

              When I use the term, I mean "achieved the intended goal".

              My goals are simple and in many ways I consider myself successful. I earn less than half of what my little brother does. He's successful too. At least I think he is - That's up to him.

              • Yes, one of my pet peeves is when people use "successful" as a synonym for "monetarily profitable".

                Certainly, for some people, the two are the same. But that's not true for everybody. There are lots of people who don't earn much, but who are successful by their own measure -- and that's the only measure that really counts.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Best definition of "luck" I have seen: "When Preparation Meets Opportunity"

          Like you said, opportunity happens all the time, all around us. The problem is, we are unprepared for it, don't recognize it, and can't actually capitalize on it.

          Missing opportunities is as easy as going home after 8 hours of work, getting drunk and playing the latest Skyrim DLC for the next six hours. Finding opportunities is hard work, consistent behaviors to improve one's skills, connections, sweating, and practice. I would sugges

        • First, the difference between someone who succeeds and someone who fails is that the one who succeeds doesn't give up after each failure. I've known quite a lot of very successful people, but I've never met a single one who hasn't left a string of failures behind them on the way.

          Have you considered that there might be plenty of people out there who fail, don't give up, try again, fail again, and just never hit the point of success? Maybe you don't know them, or maybe you attribute their failure to something else, but I don't think it's true that everyone who keeps trying will necessarily succeed eventually.

          One thing that stands out to me about people who are "lucky" is that they have a skill that can be somewhat subtle.

          I think that's somewhat true. To me, the real "luck" that makes a meaningful difference is basic/fundamental stuff. For example, I was lucky to be born into a upper-middle cla

          • Have you considered that there might be plenty of people out there who fail, don't give up, try again, fail again, and just never hit the point of success? Maybe you don't know them, or maybe you attribute their failure to something else, but I don't think it's true that everyone who keeps trying will necessarily succeed eventually.

            This is correct. I never meant to imply that persistence guarantees success. It most certainly does not. However, lack of persistence pretty much guarantees failure.

            Still, some people get better opportunities than others, so... luck is still a part of it.

            Yes, this is true. The world is not fair, and the playing field (whichever one you're playing on) is not level. I wasn't addressing that. I was really trying to point out that lots of people ascribe other people's success to random chance when, in fact, those people learned how to load the dice.

        • A huge part of luck is not having your life turned on it's head by some event outside of your control. The argument can be made that you should have been prepared for whatever it was but it is impossible to be prepared for everything. And practically speaking the more prepared you are for every conceivable eventuality the less resources you have to try and make improvements in your life at large. The fewer resources you have available, the less prepared you can be for anything, and the more likely you are t

          • A huge part of luck is not having your life turned on it's head by some event outside of your control.

            Hmm. This may depend on your personality and the nature of the disaster. Disaster and opportunity often go hand in hand, and I've seen more than one person who suffered true disaster manage to leverage that into bettering their situation in the long run.

            The argument can be made that you should have been prepared for whatever it was but it is impossible to be prepared for everything.

            I would say that's the wrong approach to "being prepared". You can't plan out everything that might happen and set up contingencies for it all! But you can be more generally prepared, mentally, emotionally, and physically, to be able to continue to function

        • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

          "While I agree with this, I'd like to make two observations:

          First, the difference between someone who succeeds and someone who fails is that the one who succeeds doesn't give up after each failure."

          Very good point. Persistence is a very important component of that sweat part. But it is more than just persistence, it is improving with each failure. I identified this when I was young (teens) and designed my life so I can do what I call "Rinse and Repeat" fast. One example is I do things on a weekly cycle wher

          • But it is more than just persistence, it is improving with each failure.

            I wish I had thought to include this, it's spot on. Suffering a defeat is just a loss. Extracting lessons from that defeat to improve future behavior transforms it into something better.

      • My success is 80% sweat, 1% connection and 19% luck.

        Note: helps if your business makes anti-antiperspirants and/or deodorants.

    • Everybody need some break from work.

      There's a difference between burning yourself out from all the working, and taking off during a critical 2 weeks of your company's life. If he can't resolve the problem and then take a vacation a few weeks later without burning out then he's not fit for his role.

      You gotta be American thinking you gotta work 110% of your time and have success.

      You gotta be braindead to think the CEO of any small startup scam company worked even close to 110%. Expect that to be more like 60%.

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:07AM (#55159433)
    Was clever and original enough when is started, for a few years, back in the 90s. Now? An over-priced Disneyland for Marketing Execs going through their second childhood or third divorce...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Was clever and original enough when is started, for a few years, back in the 90s. Now? An over-priced Disneyland for Marketing Execs going through their second childhood or third divorce...

      Meh. It was contrived and cliche even then.

      Quiznos got it right [youtube.com] in their fucking hilarious sendup of Burning Man.

    • by doom ( 14564 )

      Eh, people have been talking about how Burning Man is Over Now within a few years since it started.

      Of course, that doesn't mean that it isn't over.

      Or that it's even started yet.

  • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:08AM (#55159441)

    Does any of this surprise anyone? What in the world did anyone expect better than this from a guy trying to sell $8 glasses of juice on a subscription?

  • Honestly, many of the folks that go to Burning Man are Juicero's target market. They're relatively wealthy (enough to fund a week of living in the desert, often in quite a bit of style). They're focused on nature and on being healthy. A lot of other wealthy people attend. If he's looking for customers or a purchaser, that's an ideal place to go. So think of it more like attending a critical industry conference.
    • Getting people to sign contracts while tripping balls is counter to burning mans culture though. _Nobody_ would buy the thing sober.

      It's just a bad example. They were doomed from the start. Their only play was 'get acquired by bigger fool'.

  • no surprise here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@DEBIANhotmail.com minus distro> on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:12AM (#55159491)
    Poor Juicero -- fell into the trap that so many people who think highly of their own talents and desires fall into:

    As with so many areas where people work on something that is their passion (whether food, music, art, coffee, wine) is that they start to forget that the effort (or depth of intention) they put into it does not necessarily translate into how much other people value it, or how much people are willing to pay for it.

    You get people who think that because they slaved away for hours on a painting, essay, cup of coffee or artisinal x,y,z, etc, or that they did it with such depth of feeling means that they can charge big $$ for it.

    If that were true, history / philosophy / library science majors would be pulling in huge bucks for all the time they spent studying esoteric things that no one cares about, while people who scrape the internet for cute cat videos would be sitting in poverty. And arc welders who do a job on site, leave, and never have to think about it again would be barely getting by instead of being paid $70 / hour.

    The other thing they start to forget is that few people care about the extra details that they care about, because they've been immersed in the topic for years and lost an absolute sense of proportion, such as:
    - the ability to remotely cancel juice bags on expiration
    - having a squeezing mechanism that saves you 10 seconds of effort but costs $400...

    People who go to Burning Man (in my stereotyped way of thinking) tend to have a mindset that belief and values and ideology will carry the day -- and this resonates in my mind with what happened at Juicero. They tend not to be the people who put their nose to the grindstone and do a dirty job that has no glory or isn't "humanity-changing", but pays well and is reliable.

    At this point, it doesn't really matter if the CEO is on vacation -- it's just a symptom of what was happening all along. 3 days absence isn't going to change the company's future...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by NixieBunny ( 859050 )
      Your stereotype of Burning Man people is true for perhaps 2% of the people at Burning Man. The rest of us are people who work for a living and go there to enjoy each other's company amidst the fun stuff we create.
  • It confuses two things.
    1) Having a shite product
    2) Taking a holiday to any shite destination

    Even if he where available 24/7, the fact remained that it is a lousy concept of a product. In fact it was GOOD he was not available. That way not more people would have lost money.

    I understand that you have to be available more while you are in start-up modus, but reloading your energy is a good thing. Otherwise you BECOME the burnout man.

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:22AM (#55159571) Homepage Journal

    Nothing could save Juicero bad pricing model. They tried to make money on a 400$ juicer and not the juice, then on top of that, be a super niche market for the rich.

    Yeah, 1 week off isn't going to make a difference when a company that already failed.

    • They tried to make money on a 400$ juicer and not the juice

      I don't think that's accurate. They were selling the juicer at a clear loss. Yes, it was expensive -- but the thing was unbelievably overengineered and cost them a lot more to build than they were asking.

      The juice was the most massively overpriced part of the whole thing, and that you had to subscribe to regular deliveries of the stuff. They were clearly aiming to make their money on the juice.

      Their problem was that they wanted to get sillicon valley VC money -- and there's no way those VCs were going to fu

  • This was always marketing looking for a way to monetize a subscription as opposed to trying to bring the product that best met the need of the customer to market. There is nothing that anyone can do to save this company. If they still had a few million dollars, they could fire everyone except a few engineers and maybe make a $40 hand press to squeeze their juice packs, but the bottom line is that there are already a number of juicers on the market that can use fruit and vegetables available at any grocery

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:26AM (#55159603)

    A fundamental rule about businesses is: you should never have anyone who is actually indispensable. If that person gets hit by a bus, the business is toast -- so a company with one of more indispensable people in it is a company in a weak or precarious position.

    If the company really can't do without an exec for a week or so, I take that as a big red flag that the company is, at best, teetering. So let them have their vacation, it's probably not making anything worse.

    • A fundamental rule about businesses is: you should never have anyone who is actually indispensable.

      And fundamentally that applies to pretty much everyone except the CEO. Good CEOs truly are indispensable. You can't teach or proceduralize vision and strategy.

      • Good CEOs truly are indispensable.

        If this were actually true, there would be a lot fewer successful corporations in the world.

        • If this were actually true, there would be a lot fewer successful corporations in the world.

          You're joking right? 90% of businesses fail in the first year. A tiny fraction of the successes make it big. The corporations in the world are an incredible tiny minority, a statistical blip buried in rounding errors of the attempted rise to significant worth. And even from those that make it there are still mega corporations which despite their incredible inertia get sunk through leadership incompetence.

          The fact that power is concentrated in as few corporations as it is is the symptom.

  • The people who hired him. No more, no less. I don't care what some CEO of some obscure company does or doesn't do as long as I'm not an investor. It is literally none of my business, or yours (unless you own part of the business) what some guy with the CEO title does.

    Anything further is nothing more than class envy... Where the folks who assume all CEO's are corrupt, greedy and bad actors who get too much compensation, are shoveling out their drivel about how unfair things are.

    What are we anyway? Soc

    • It is literally none of my business, or yours (unless you own part of the business) what some guy with the CEO title does.

      Anything further is nothing more than class envy...

      That is incredibly short sighted given the amount of power CEOs wield over the general population at large. I am directly affected by the decision of many CEOs despite not being an investor of theirs.

      What are we anyway? Socialists? Communist? or Capitalists? Take your pick because you cannot have all three.

      If you think someone skimping out of his job at a critical time of his company's life excludes you or limits you to any of those three definitions then you really have no idea about these political economic theories.

  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:31AM (#55159631)

    I'm a startup founder, I've never been to Burning Man, or any similar events, and probably never will be. I agree that those are not actually networking events, but I don't think it's ok to dictate the type of vacation someone should take. If raving in the desert is what someone needs to clear their head and make better decisions, they should do it. Not everyone gets the same thing from meditation and solitary introspection. Sometimes you just need something different. There are times I need to go take a peaceful hike by myself to reflect, and there are times I need to go to Vegas with an old friend to make bad decisions on purpose.

    For a startup founder, your company is ALWAYS in crisis. Every week you're burning cash to keep things going. If you wait for the perfect time to take a vacation, you'll be waiting for a very long time. Whether you can bear to leave your co-workers working while you go is highly personal and unique to every situation... it's impossible to generalize.

    Now, I've seen people who do take way too much time off, and do expect to come up with a miracle on the fly to replace the work they should have put in. But that's a different thing.

    • For a startup founder, your company is ALWAYS in crisis.

      Truer words were never spoken! A corollary to that is if the founder isn't aware that the startup is in crisis, that startup is doomed.

      This, by the way, is one of the reasons I consider a large amount of funding for a startup to be toxic. It can encourage the illusion that the startup is on its feet, and can cause a startup to be operated as if it were actually an established business -- which is one of the quicker ways to kill a startup.

    • but I don't think it's ok to dictate the type of vacation someone should take

      No one is criticising the type of vacation, just the timing.

      For a startup founder, your company is ALWAYS in crisis.

      Errr no. Not even remotely.

      Every week you're burning cash to keep things going.

      I hope you learn the difference* between being a startup and being in a crisis before you actually end up in one. *That* will be the differences between your startup turning into a company or turning into a footnote on a bankruptcy statement.

      All I can say is good luck.

      * Unless you're saying your startup is also a scam poorly thought out with a product your customers found out they don't need via the nightly news, and your

      • Did you read TFA? I got something very different than you did from that article.

        "Crisis" is a strong word, but there's no emotional distinction to the founder between worrying about how to best take advantage of when things go well and how to correct when things go poorly. Every decision can be important, and it feels that way. TFA focuses on problems, but it's also serious for a founder to skip out on an opportunity to leverage success.

        If you're an investor, or an employee, it's much easier.

  • ...I couldn't care less.

    Caveat investor.

    If venture caps are stupid enough to hand millions to some dipshit without a discernible business plan and a burn rate of nearly $90k PER DAY, that's their idiotic choice. I can't say his 'vanishing' the Burning Man is an iota off-course in terms of my expectations of his personality.

    Then again, if I'd lost 7+ figures on his promises, the least I would do is make sure the next 5-6 figures I'd spend would be to have him killed gruesomely as a ...reminder...to other ir

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:38AM (#55159675) Homepage Journal

    What is this shit doing on the Slashdot front page? It's wrong in every aspect of business management and is just a long way around to say "work good, drugs bad". It's the prose equivalent of Nancy Reagan wearing a nun's outfit having an auditory seizure.

    • LOL, pure projection on your part. When people you've invested in are supposed to be busting their asses and instead take the company's money and go on vacation, that's bad.

      Nancy Reagan? Seriously? You triggered, bro?

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:51AM (#55159765)

    "Whether you're going to Burning Man, Ibiza, SXSW, or ..."

    but this year at Burning Man, there was actually a man burning.

  • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:54AM (#55159791)

    If, at any point in my life, I somehow managed by any possible means to get people to purchase a $400 bag squeezer... I really wouldn't give a shit.

    He's already won. Will his empire persist throughout all time and dominate the consumer-grade fruit-bag squeezing market? No? Maybe? Is that even a real market? Who gives a fuck, he managed to dupe a non-insignificant number of people into actually giving him money. This IS the victory scenario. Of course he's going to try and have an exit strategy. This is NOT a long-term company. If anyone for a moment really thought that fruit-bag-squeezer was a legit product, then you deserve to watch your investment burn down in flames. Are you upset your investment isn't pay off? Too bad, you invested in a BAG SQUEEZER.

    There's a TON of really stupid startups. There's also a few good ones. If your little baby business can't survive a weekend without someone in constant phone contact, that's a sign that it's fucked. If it's a shitty startup, all it takes is one investor to get their head on straight and realize it's shit. If the founder needs to be in constant contact to maintain that suspension of disbelief, then the company is fucked. If the startup has a legit idea that will make millions, but is working paycheck to paycheck and has the organization of a season of Lost, and every employee has no clue what to do without you there, and it can't survive one weekend without the founder there manually holding together the duck tape and twine contraption, then the company is fucked.

    If the company has a real idea. And has some semblance of people knowing what to do. And there isn't some hard contractual obligation deadline. Then the world will continue to turn for a few days without you getting that email. "Hey Bob, you're in charge this weekend, I'm out" That's all that's needed.

    And the sad fact is that this message will put an unnerving number of startup types into a cold sweat.

    • He's already won.

      He has a paltry net worth of a couple of million, just got ousted as CEO and his startup is on fire sale but more likely facing bankruptcy. Your definition of "won" is very strange.

      • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @03:30PM (#55161037)

        He has a ... net worth of a couple of million

        HE'S WON BABY!

        With a $2 million dollars of stocks you can have an income of (around and averaged to) $200,000/year from stock market gains alone. You can live anywhere in the world and that money still comes in. You don't have to put in a single hour of work. It just happens.

        Considering the typical person in the world lives on ~$10,000/year and you'd be making 20x that, for doing nothing other than breathing, I think you've got a VERY strange definition of "paltry". Hell, even in first-world top-dog USA where everyone is rich and the median income is $51,939, you'd still be doing REAL fine just living on the gains from your stocks.

        Let me make this abundantly clear: Most people still have to work for a living because they cannot simply choose to get out of the SanFran housing clusterfuck and retire with a big-ass pile of a "paltry" $2,000,000. If I were handed even $1 mil, I'd stop working for someone else and start making the things I WANT to make (or fuck around all day like the unmotivated slob I am, but regardless). If you think having a net worth of $2 mil makes this guy a loser, then you need to go travel the world a little. The parts which don't have a cabana boy with mimosas on hand. You need some perspective. It'll do you good.

  • On the JuiceAero (Score:5, Informative)

    by shellster_dude ( 1261444 ) on Friday September 08, 2017 @11:56AM (#55159807)
    The thing was always a scam (or at least a terrible idea). AvE did a great video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • It's not as if a week of this guy Dogug Evans' magic CEO mojo would rescue a fatally flawed business plan. Especially as Evans was no longer CEO at the time. He was chairman, which means he doesn't run the company on a day-to-day basis.

  • ... I don't think anyone would mind if Martin Shkreli [wikipedia.org] took off for Burning Man [wikipedia.org] -- and was tied to "The Man" Saturday night.

  • Burning Man is not one of them. If I had CEO pay from something as silly as that, I'd party while it circles the drain too.

  • Shit happens and people are out of work all the time. It's nice when it's scheduled like a vacation, but you can also get some sort of infection, break a limb, require surgery, have a family member pass away, have to care for a sick kid or any other of the little curve balls life throws at you. Anyone in a corporate structure (including the CEO) should be able to be out of contact for a week without decision making breaking down. Managers under the CEO should be competent enough to keep their departments hu

  • ... differs from most professional conferences exactly how? What you need to watch is who gets sent to these. Most of the successful outfits send expendable people. That way, if a competitor hires them away, figuring that they are key personnel, you can get them off your books and come out ahead.

  • We're basing an entire article on one real example and then a bunch of wanna-bes?

    Let's write an article about how you can tell a company is going to blow up because the first letter in their name is "U". After all, Uber...

  • by doom ( 14564 )

    At your average start-up, you'd much rather have the CEO doing drugs in the desert rather than in the corner office.

    If investors want the startup employees chained to their desks until the "Profit!" stage, they should write that into the agreements up front.

  • What we will find out is that running headlong into flames is just a feature of Silicon Valley's latest code development methodology.

The cost of feathers has risen, even down is up!

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