The social validation

What is your first response when you encounter a tremor?

You wonder if anyone else has also noticed the tremor. The need for “validation” is widespread and happens for incidents that don’t involve tremors as well.

If those in your group feel something, you’ll too. That’s why we look around before clapping on a really good speech by that inspiring guest speaker. Why should it matter if your group members felt the way you did about the episode? Because it matters. A lot. Social validation matters.

Startup founders are no different.

They attend hackathons and tech meetups and try to network with every other startup founder in their area for social validation.

Still, why the startups that have won hackathons and mesmerized everyone else in a tech meetup don’t live up to the promise?

More or less, the crux of whatever they talk about in such events comes to this:

“I’m riding the horse of uncertainty. I can see that you’re too. Just the color of my horse is pink and your’s is blue.  I’m cool at what I do. Pretty soon I’ll be successful; you might too!”

And they feel relaxed. They feel they’re doing something right even though the case might be exactly the opposite.

This observation from Seth Godin is so on-target:

“Action, even ineffective action, is something societies seek out during times of uncertainty.”

Sure, it’s natural. It’s human too. But it’s scary as well.

As they are closer to everyday uncertainties, startup founders tend to take more actions than others.

But sometimes more is not better. Only better is better. Again a profound thought from Seth.

Maybe, instead of attending one more similar startup community event, you might want to spend your Saturday noon making your product better.

Attend good startup events for sure – they provide great value. But do it for the right reasons. If you’re doing it for social proof, you might want to reconsider it.

Not more actions. Just the better ones.