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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the lies that startup founders and staff tell to make their company look better than it really is.

They highlight that lying has been and remains a commonly accepted way to communicate, popularised by successful startups and founders. This social acceptance has left founders without the awareness of how damaging lies are for the very thing that they are trying to protect, their company.

Lying is defined as deliberately making a false statement with the intention of deceiving the person receiving the information. We have all heard the euphemism ‘fake it till you make it’, but appearing to be perfect isn’t believable for any business. Many founders see lying as part of the ‘day to day’ of keeping their startup running. But the value of being vulnerable and honest, may be the missing ingredient to resonating with the people most important to your company.

Tune into this week’s episode of The Startup Chat to explore the question ‘Why do Startups Lie?’ and why lying can damage your companies image. Steli and Hiten, show how all companies have things go wrong and most companies are struggling with something. They define the kinds of lies that founders tell and look at alternative ways of communicating.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

02:02 The startup grey zone.

02:25 Lying popularized on the road to success.

03:40 Buying into the ‘Hero’s Journey’.

04:24 Definition of being a founder.

04:52 Why do founders lie?

08:19 An example of a lie that a startup may tell.

09:14 The pros and cons of lying.

12:14 The main reason not to lie.

12:56 The perception of lying.

16:10 The price of lying.

3 Key Points:

There’s a difference between lying and framing your problems in a way that is productive for your company.

You are paying the price for every little lie you speak, and the price just isn’t worth it.

First, you have to recognise that you are lying then you have to stop it.



Steli: Hey everybody this is Steli.



Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.



Steli: Today in the startup chat we will talk about start up lies. Here's why I want to talk about this with you specifically. In recent months there have been a few cases where founders that are friends of mine or founders that I've been advising ... That have kind of uncovered or told me that they've been lying to either investors, their team members or their families. They've been lying for a variety of reasons and they didn't say, "I'm lying," just in my conversation with them I realized holy shit, he or she's lying about X, Y and Z and I could get into some examples very quickly. The first time it happened it kind of broke my heart and it made me think wow I'm so glad I don't have to deal with any of this in my life and it feels so distant like running a company where you have to lie to investors or ask friends to sign up and put in their credit card so you can in your next board meeting report some fake ... Like just that type of shit but the recent example I had was again one where through a startup employee I basically learned that one of my ... A startup that a friend of mine is running that they're bending the truth in a way that I would call a lie to make certain numbers look good for the investors and I was like shit I need to talk to about this. Like this idea of a lot of startups think that ... A lot of times do live in the gray zone right, there is black and white and all sort of do things that are sometimes not fully legal and do things that are slightly ethically questionable and there's a lot of stories of founders getting away with it and becoming successful and never hurting anybody. So, I feel like a lot of the founders because of the pressure they get and because of the maybe all these stories ou...

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