Why Startup Founders Fail: The Hypocrisy Excuse

Career-killing lessons from anti-heroes!

Joe Procopio


image taken from the Replacements’ official twitter

The Replacements were the last best band of the 1980s.

And if you’re still reading, I realize I have work to do to connect to anything you care about. So stay with me.

If you’re in business because you love what you do, you’ll want to read at least two-thirds of this post. You don’t have to know who the Replacements were, because you probably don’t.

The 1980s were, in retrospect, one of the most disparate periods in popular music history. Cultural shards and sonic anomalies converged across the entire spectrum of genre and classification.

But at any given time, there were mega-successful acts that everyone knew. Michael Jackson, The Police, Prince, U2, Madonna, and Run-DMC all spent time as the biggest pop act in the world for an extended period.

Then in 1989 (I think), splashed across the cover of Musician magazine (I believe), was the headline “The Last, Best Band of the ‘80s” and a photo of the Replacements.



I see startup founders and other business visionaries with all the talent in the world fail because they can’t get out of their own, altruistic way.

And I will raise my hand as having done exactly that, several times over.

Hypocrisy in the business world is everywhere and nowhere, all at once, depending on your perspective.

I loved the Replacements. Still do. But I’m going to guess that most people reading this have no idea who they were. This is not uncommon in popular music, where one-hit wonders dominate the charts to this day. But the Replacements weren’t one-hit wonders. They were no-hit wonders.

They existed as a cautionary tale about a band who saw everything line up to make them the next most successful act in that chain, but couldn’t stop giving the finger to every opportunity that even hinted at the marriage of music and business.

They showed up too drunk to play and played anyway. They alienated record label executives, promoters, fellow artists, and…



Joe Procopio

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