Most Startup People Don’t Know Shit About Financial Markets

by irainonyourparade

http://mathbabe.org/2012/10/06/dissolve-the-sec/

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4624719

Please shut up.

“Someone isn’t doing a good job in some dimension, so let’s dissolve that entity” is an idiotic response. *

A persistent problem among smart people is the belief that their general intelligence qualifies them to comment on matters they have no domain expertise in (and consequently offer supposedly common sense solutions as if they have some sort of special insight into the problem). That nobody else had. Including all the other backseat drivers on the internet. And you know, the people who think about that problem for a living.  PLEASE FUCKING STOP.

This is not just a “startup people” problem. It’s a smart people problem. And a  “think they’re smart” people problem. It’s math professors leveraging titles like “tenured Ivy league professor” to comment on moral issues in the popular press, or the ridiculous idea that the opinions of the general public should bear on US foreign policy

“Fox News: 68% of Americans believe we should withdraw from Iraq.”  Oh really? Who the fuck cares? Sure, maybe you don’t think Iraq is a good idea. Maybe I don’t even think so. But I know for damn sure that I know less than the policy makers about the implications of pulling out, that there is a lot of non-public information that goes into those decisions, that the general public doesn’t educate themselves about foreign policy, and I for damn sure don’t want a phone poll of Main Street Joe The Plumber’s to be dictating legislation.

But I’m in startups and I used to be in finance (so… basically, not unique at all… also, the next time I read a “I quit my ibanking job to start a startup” blog post I will rant about that). So one of the really common themes that rubs me the wrong way is “startup people think they know shit about finance”.

The problem is that there’s a lot of literature about finance.  You could read for days. And startup people are smart people, and they feel like they know something once they’ve read some of the “authoritative” literature on the subject.

You don’t. So please stop. It makes me want to punch myself. Or you.

* Note: I’m not defending the SEC. “Dissolve them” is a childish response. Hey mathbabe, do you think the SEC does anything else that might have value? Do you think we’d really be better off with no SEC tomorrow? It’s really easy to nitpick and find SOMETHING wrong in any organization.