In Depth

And the award for the best liar goes to- the Entrepreneur

Laxman Papineni
23rd Feb 2015
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I am writing this article while watching the Oscar’s award ceremony and I think if they had a category for the best liar it would most definitely be won by an entrepreneur.

A wise man had once said, “The best lies are always at least partly true.” This quote is an apt reflection of an entrepreneur, considering that we are all a big brood of liars. Yes, you read it right; we lie day in and day out.

Don’t agree with me? Well let’s evaluate this theory a little closely.

1)   We lie about our product status

When was the last time that you told your fellow entrepreneurs, family members or even friends that your product's lifecycle is really screwed up, and technically you are doomed?

The answer is NEVER.

Whether you are an entrepreneur who has recently launched a product, or you are someone who can envision an impending shutdown, the standard answer to product status would always remain positive.

“Well, ya, it's doing great. We’ve launched the product and exciting things are in progress.” Remember this conversation?

Apart from that, we also tend to lie to our prospects about the same. A few may bear the brunt of this lie, however, most of us tend to succeed. The same is true for AppVirality as well especially because we started pitching from day one, when we just had a few lines of code, to anyone and at every platform, including prospective clients, investors and even startup competitions. We were quite boisterous about this attitude and were keen on them evaluating our idea/plan in those initial days. It led to lot of feedback, suggestions, feature requests, connections and ultimately our funding!

2)   We lie about our state of mind

Though we are always ecstatic about new developments and the progress of our startup, we tend to lie usually about our state of mind. And as far as this lie goes, we do so to avoid awkwardness and to mostly please ourselves.

So when we say, ‘We’re doing good,’ we may be actually in deep trouble!

3)   We lie about our startup success

Building a great product is one part of the business, and the same cannot equate success. A successful startup requires more than that, and we all know that we lie about all those elements. Even if the startup cycle is not moving in our favour (no funding, low customer acquisition, etc.), we tend to make everyone believe that we are in good shape!


Image Source: http://noyoureoutoforder.tumblr.com/page/2

4)   We fake our demeanour

Calm, composed and saint-like, we all have mastered the art of faking our demeanour. Irrespective of the numerous challenges around us we have learnt to smile, relax and be mellow at all times. In fact, when it comes to handling our team we have developed an uncanny ability to motivate them and convince them about our ‘next big product’.

We fake our demeanour so much that at times we often start to daydream about the number of customers who are crazy about our product and how investors have lined up outside our offices!

5)   We fake our behaviour

If we have to by the literal meaning of ‘behaviour’, we actually fake ‘the manner in which we conduct ourselves’. The change often reflects in our behaviour. We may get successful with some funding and thus land ourselves on the much read pages of a few popular publications. Our families and friends and even a few newbies on the block start to worship us as their hero. What happens then? Well, we’ve got no option but to pretend and mould ourselves in a way that they think is appropriate.

I’m sure by now you would have accepted our shortcomings. However, there’s some good news. According to Robert Feldman, a renowned psychologist, “It’s socially useful to tell lies,” and that makes a great deal of sense in today’s scenario.

Though we often lie, there are some aspects that we can never lie or fake.

1)   We cannot lie about our unwavering belief

Whatever may be the circumstances, we can never lie about our belief that we have in our idea and our startup. We have accustomed ourselves to risks, which has made us quite diligent.

People, who have witnessed our journey, can see that quality within us and no wonder they choose to stick with us through thick and thin.


Image Source: http://noyoureoutoforder.tumblr.com/page/2

2) We cannot lie about our passion

I believe a successful startup is soaked in the sweat of passionate people. Coupled with our strong belief and a dedicated startup team we ensure that we leave no stone unturned to achieve success. This has led us to burn the midnight oil, without being too grumpy.

3)   We cannot lie about our determination

Whether it is the ability to face rejection from investors or customers, we do not get deterred, and it talks a lot about our determination. Clearly we cannot fake it.

While this was an attempt to take a dig at our community, I sincerely hope that no one is offended. Do let me know more about your trysts with lies (and things you cannot lie) as an entrepreneur in the comments below.

About the author:

Laxman Papineni is the Co-­founder of AppVirality, growth toolkit for mobile apps that helps app developers run Uber/Lyft like “personalized in-­app referrals” without having to code.

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