Lies Lies Lies by Szymon Janiak


The post was originally published in Polish on Szymon’s LinkedIn profile. Szymon kindly agreed to republish what we think is of great value to our readers.

A high-ranking marketing director says that after many years he plucked up the courage and finally decided to quit his corporate job to start his dream company. His employer says that it was the corporation that decided to get rid of him because he cheated the company and is under prosecution, so no one wants to hire him.

Szymon Janiak, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Czysta3.VC

A fund manager says that he is fed up with the venture capital industry and the constant pursuit of capital. He found a new, much more interesting career path for himself. His investors tell me that he tried desperately to raise money for a new fund, but everyone refused him because he failed to deliver the promised results, so he became a leper in the community.

A startup CEO talks about upcoming contracts and how he chooses offers from business angels. His partner says that if they don’t sign any major client within a month, they will face bankruptcy.

Lying in business has become so common that it is part of its everyday life. Instead of admitting failures, people prefer to build the illusion of success, because that’s what the market expects.

Paradoxically, those who tell the truth are affected. Because if everyone is constantly selling and sharing beautiful visions, then someone who suddenly honestly speaks about what reality looks like, deviates from the norm. Compared to the Instagram bubble, his work is like a photo without a filter – sad, gray and… mundane and no one wants to identify with it.

I get the impression that this glow of success poured with icing makes us forget what business looks like. Realism, whatever it is, at least is true. Maybe it’s worth appreciating.

The comment section had quite a lot of stories and insights to share on the topic:

Moving away from ubiquitous lies, which are undeniably an element of every business relationship, I would like to emphasize what you wrote about living in a bubble and the misunderstanding of entrepreneurs by the rest of the people.

When I open LinkedIn, I see only successes. Foreign trips, conferences, deals with large clients, mergers, acquisitions, success, and new investors in projects. And it all looks so simple.

And what is the reality? For example, you are at work 24 hours a day, you work several times more than most others to deliver something of value. And photos from an industry event are just an addition to the gray business reality based on everyday work and struggle for the client and keeping the company afloat.

You pay a big price for trying to bring your business to the top, but only those who do it themselves or those who work directly with leaders realize this. I have such an opportunity and I know that I would not like to change with most leaders.

More realism. Less fairy tale produced as a feed for LinkedIn or Facebook.

Tomasz Śnioch, CEO at EXWORD

It all depends on what is considered normal. Mostly, such visions quickly bump into a few verification questions.

The problem is elsewhere!

Nobody stigmatizes such behavior or brings it to light. People talk behind the scenes, but on stage they still high-five and congratulate those angel investors or new opportunities.

Why? Because everyone wants to remain in this same game.

And if someone says it or asks questions in public, they are immediately a hater and ‘you never gonna make it.’

Tomasz Onyszko, CTO at Predica Group

The fact is that the times are such that everything is oversweetened, but there’s an emptiness under the icing. The form often overlaps content. How can one tell when this is the case?

Dariusz Zwak, Senior Business Expert at A360 Business Quality Group

The ‘fake it till you make it’ culture came to us from Silicon Valley along with stories from WeWork and Theranos, as well as other champions of scaling without an actual business model. And we love this America so much that we copy it without a second thought.

Marek Friedman, CMO at Samurai Labs

People who take the ‘fake it till you make it’ route have little time left for the ‘make it’ part. Some can make it before bankruptcy, others can’t. The market verifies everyone in due time.

Jakub Ożga, CEO at Platforma Medyc

For many, the truth about oneself is a painful experience that we tend to avoid. We reject clear messages from our environment about what we do wrong or downplay their importance. Instead, we wade into auto-marketing in which only strangers will believe. We reject self-reflection. But all is not lost. Everyone can change themselves for the better if they can detect their flaws.

Witold Kowalski, Founder at WK Profit Consulting

The amazing thing is that the truth is often placed below money in some people’s value systems.

Kamil Müller, COO at eTWI System

This situation is typical for an immature market. My company has been offering VR projects in China and Hong Kong for 7 years. In mainland China, we lost to companies that knew how to present fireworks and bullshit. In Hong Kong, on the other hand, hard facts and figures counted and there we still have clients who queue up and we choose projects to be implemented. After the pandemic, virtually all competing and well-known VR companies in Shenzhen collapsed. We have orders lining up. So the scam does not pay off in the long run.

Arnold Adamczyk, Co-Founder and CEO at Sunway Network

Truth is the foundation of long-term success. Even the worst, but always the truth. The problem is that this ‘not very cool’ truth can be approached optimistically or pessimistically. I know from experience that even if there is a worse time, but you are at peace with yourself, you don’t lie to yourself and others, while being a human being and an entrepreneur, – sooner or later you become ‘sexy’ for customers.

Marcin Kołodziej, CEO at Antropio


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