Jerry Guo's Blog

September 30, 2011 at 1:28pm

Jerry Guo’s apology and why the tech world is awesome

In May, I wrote to Adam Sachs of Ignighter—a Techstars company—that I was a journalist who wanted to cover his group dating startup.

My partner Michael Waxman and I had just launched an early version of Grouper, an online / offline social club that arranges drinks between two groups of friends. I didn’t tell Adam this, and met him under false pretenses.

That was very f-ed up. I apologized to Adam in July, but want to publicly say I’m sorry.

Here’s something even more f-ed up: I could’ve met Adam and he would have freely discussed Ignighter even if I told him I was an entrepreneur interested in the social space. 

Startup guys are awesome. This hasn’t really hit home for me until I’ve had time to reflect this past week. In the spring, Michael and I applied to YC and before our interview, talked with a few dozen YC alumni who were nothing but enthusiastic and open.

Since we’ve met Adam, we’ve met or talked with hundreds of entrepreneurs who have taken time out of their busy schedule to help us. This past week, Michael and I met with Eddy and Daishin from Grubwithus. We’ve known them since this spring, and even though we’re very much in the same space, they’ve only been absolutely enthusiastic about what we’re doing. They are true gentlemen.

Startups are not a zero-sum game. We can all win, and by that, I mean create value that ultimately helps those around us—by creating jobs, connecting people, making markets more efficient, etc—and some go on to change the world.

The media world can be a zero-sum game. Getting a scoop means beating someone else to the punch. Coming up with a false narrative garners more page views for gossip rags. I don’t want to stoop to their level and give a point-by-point refutation, but will just let my reporting speak for itself and the love our Grouper members have shown us.

The other apology I want to make is a more personal one to my best friend Michael. We began our startup journey together last fall, and since then, we’ve slept on couches, pulled 72-hour days, and suffered countless setbacks (including a YC rejection). 

He’s poured his heart into Grouper and does not deserve the scandals I’ve created, for which only I am responsible for. We came to a mutual decision for Grouper to survive, I will need to part ways. I’m really thankful to Michael for always being there for me and believing in my potential from the start. He’s my best case for why the tech world is so awesome.

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” — Bill Gates