It's been an interesting year so far. I think we all concur that there is a lot of hype at the moment in our startup world. I presume there is more to come as I don't see any kind of downturn in the next 12 months or so. Nevertheless, one thing has been really annoying me recently. The amount of badmouthing and bashing I hear is excessive.
It all came to a head for me with the Samwer "Reportage" a couple days ago. (Sorry, only in German). Long story short, this is a piece of horrible reporting trying to bash the Samwers and do nothing but make them look bad. Sure, think what you will of these guys, but this is simply badmouthing for badmouthing's sake.
Generally, I turn a blind eye to this stuff as we all at times have an urge to badmouth someone. I recommend to always stay away from it as it can and usually will come back to bite you. Yet, this show about the Samwers plus all the other bad blood I am encountering doesn't necessarily help anyone and it's a bad hobby to have.
By "the other bad blood" I mean the general discussions I have been having the past few months. I was holed up for quite a while getting companies at Liquid Labs off the ground and simply wasn't networking as much as earlier. I headed back out about a month or two ago to just get back into it more.
The one takeaway I have is that way too many people are badmouthing others in the German (and EU) scene. I don't know whether this is because of the general upswing we are in or because of all the money floating around but it's useless. It's also not just people who are being bashed. Every fund, corporate and incubator gets their share of it. I would generally urge people to stop.
I don't expect people to start sugarcoating everything and only saying positive things. Criticism is good and there should be a discussion about how to do things better. But we have to stop unfounded comments which tend to be in the following sense:
"That corporate VC sucks!"
"The partner at so-and-so firm is a total idiot!"
"Founder so-and-so is a prick."
"None of these incubators are going to survive!"
"That event is a total waste of time!"
"They are just copycats!"
It goes on and on. Each of those points above can be turned into positive criticism if you explain why you believe the statement is so and what could be done to improve it. Without being holier than thou, I would wish for a more supportive environment here in Germany with far more thoughtful discussion than just bashing driven by frustration, jealousy or disgust. Get over it and make the community better instead of spreading negative vibes. Or prove "them" wrong and do it better yourself.