Scam: Anything and everything new you’re excited about
Word of mouth is crucial to the business community, especially in the world of entrepreneurship. New business thrives on excitement and energy, and a critical key to its success is imparting enough of this energy onto investors to secure startup funding. Because of this, frauds, thieves, and con-men have long exploited the entrepreneurial environment to convince investors to part with their hard-earned cash before disappearing into the night. Therefore, the basic “Stay away from X, it’s a scam!” warning can be a currency of high value in the business community.
That’s where we run into problems: people “printing money,” or fabricating scams to artificially inflate their own value in the community. You see, the cost of poo-pooing a new idea is very minimal in the long run. Even if a new venture succeeds, no one doubles back and makes former critics eat their words. They instead focus (as well they should) on keeping their victory going. Meanwhile, the consummate critic gets a momentary boost of clout, and this only increases if they end up vindicated.
The problem with this habit of rushing to knock down new ventures is that it ends up harshly discouraging innovation and progress. And you can see it happening all the time. Bitcoin is a scam. Other cryptocurrencies are scams. New ride-sharing app Arcade City is a scam. The Free State Project? Scam. I’ve lost track of the number of things I’ve heard called a scam for no good reason.
Imagine if we approached everything in life with that initial rush of negativity. Got a new job? It’s a scam. Made your first million? Probably from drug money. Just got married? Likely a sham, won’t last. Had a child? Probably defective, will end up a serial killer or something. Yes, imagine how destructive to relationships that publicly-expressed attitude would be. In other words, imagine a world without hope and charity. Think that’s any better for business and progress?
Some things in life are surefire and wonderful. Others are shady and deserve our suspicion. For all the rest, is it really best to default to derision and cynicism?