How To Identify and Respond To Your Startup’s Haters

You need to understand them, but you don’t owe them anything

Joe Procopio


When you take big swings, some people are going to push back. Sometimes they’re right. Most of the time they’re wrong. Occasionally they’re idiots.

To level-set that premise with a simple real-world example, I want to start by globally responding to some of the pushback I’ve received for a post I wrote calling the startup ecosystem broken without providing the (required) proof as to why the startup ecosystem is broken.

And please note, this is not about me or my writing. I already hate myself for this response post, especially for those snarky parentheses in the last paragraph.

Those are just there to poke the haters.

Anyway, I went back to that post and re-read it a couple times, looking for where I went wrong. And I confirmed that, no, I wrote exactly what I set out to write. So I read it one more time. Then it hit me.

The problem wasn’t in the post, it was the expectations of the reader.

Is that my fault? Yeah, probably. Do I regret it?


The thing is, I have provided a multitude of reasons as to why I believe the startup ecosystem is broken. I’ve written dozens of posts on the subject and will write dozens more.

I didn’t want to write a 5,000 word post just to prove that the problem exists. I didn’t even want to list out the rest of the 20+ reasons I had started listing, and I stated so in the post:

TL;DR: “I literally wrote 20 more sentences like that but I had to cut them out. Because this isn’t a rant.”

I thought that was enough to give any reader the gist of the existence of the problem, and again, I didn’t want to hit people over the head with the problem because I wanted to get to the point. The fix. The answers. Not just complain (again) about the problem.

That’s where the expectations started going off the rails. I’ll take the blame for that.

Because the problems —let alone the solutions — can’t be neatly crammed into one post. The problems aren’t that simple. The solutions aren’t that easy…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at