The article only argues about the “mechanics” of the startup culture. There is no value judgement or any implied relation to the political ideologies mentioned or alluded to below. I think this should be obvious, but you never know…
Most participants, twenty-something, coming from all corners of Europe, never experienced the old era themselves. Political history wasn’t a big conversation topic. Yet the shadow of the complicated ideological heritage could be felt here and there in the background of the startups scrum in Poland. The very first presentation of the meeting even mentioned Lech Wałęsa, though I assume this was an unknown name for most.
For mine and younger generations, that didn’t experience the previous regimes first hand, these stay as a weird enigma. They are present in the old buildings in our cities, in jokes, stories, occasional TV documentary or old movies.
There is also a sense of bewilderment. How could reasonable people believe, and even more importantly, act on mere ideas? Can we nowadays, in the safe and developed West, understand the allure of ideologies on the gut (alief) level?
It is only naive to not think that we are no longer submerged in ideologies on daily basis. However most of them feel more subdued, more passive. The most pervasive (and least noticeable) shapes our consumer behaviors and everything that is enabling them. This makes the broad “consumerist capitalism” memeplex particularly dangerous, but also not sufficiently visceral for demonstration on the alief level.
Political ideology in the western world is similarly largely in stealth regime. Most of the political action nowadays consists of reposting some image macros on facebook or some flamewars. Not really the blood and sweat of bygone eras.
Religion? Not for most of the young generation of developed countries.
That is what is striking on the “startup culture”. It captures the hearts and minds of the youth, gives them dreams and hopes, gives them a struggle and an enemy. There are revered thinkers, books that everybody should read and most can quote. Visionary pitches, lectures and essays. Memes and symbolism.
Details can be discussed and there are variations here and there, but the core message is usually intact.
And it doesn’t end with ideas.
It motivates to vigorous action, endless hours of hard work, enduring months and years of hardship. All in the name of greater good – creating value to the customer.
The end is noble and the means are obviously correct.
You are twenty-something and wonder how reasonable people could have been in throes of ideologies like communism and national socialism.
Now feel the rush of adrenaline, the excitement, the call for action, when you think about the world of startups. Feel the future you can build, the good you can create, the reward you can reap.
This is how an ideology feels like.