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“I don’t have Facebook”

April 1, 2013

Recently a founder of one of the StartMate teams told me: “I don’t have Facebook”. I told the team, I can’t help you until I see his friend request on Facebook. Was I too harsh? I don’t think so. There are a few reasons why I think having a strong online presence and being digitally approachable are important for entrepreneurs.


Understanding the market

If my start-up targets consumers in their 20’s and I’m not intimately familiar with Facebook’s API and how Facebook is used and works, how can I design for my audience, who spend more time on Facebook than any other site? Start-ups fail, unless they don’t. I want to optimize my chance of not failing in all dimensions of my start-up. Having and using a Facebook account is super easy. As a start-up founder I have no excuse for not having a Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter account.

Online presence

People will Google me. For me the worst outcome would be that they don’t find anything! If I Google someone and can’t find anything, I assume one of two things: They have hidden their online presence, so I wonder what they have to hide. OR they don’t have an online presence, so they don’t understand the internet. For plenty of people this is not an issue, but as an entrepreneur, this is something you can’t afford.

Missed opportunities

Things I would have missed without putting myself out there? I’ve been contacted out of the blue by journalist for articles that helped my business, by investors, by CEO’s of businesses in a similar space, by potential employees. etc. Without networking and openness my previous company Tjoos would not have been as big as it was (thanks Geoff for telling us about oDesk), I would not have known about the Citrix Startup Accelerator, which invested in ZeroMail, I would not have met the hundreds of great and inspiring people I’ve met along the way. A Facebook account isn’t the only thing you need, but it starts there… no Facebook account, being paranoid of publishing your email address, protected Twitter updates to me are not only the first steps toward missing opportunities, but also signs of personality traits that will not help entrepreneurs succeed.

My phone number, email address, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc are all over the web. I don’t get bombarded with prank calls, email spam, etc. In fact, people are too lazy to even do a Google search. Instead they send me a message on LinkedIn to ask for my contact details. I’m just not that important. Basically, nobody cares. So if you’re an entrepreneur and you protect your email address like it affects national security or you’ve completely locked down your Facebook so people can’t even send you friend requests… do yourself a favor, get over yourself, accept that nobody cares, relax, share and open yourself up to more opportunities.

Bart Jellema – 0401984056 – b@rtje.netFacebookLinkedIn (LION) – Twitter – Skype:


From → Rubbish

  1. Nice article Bart!

  2. fsiefken permalink

    I agree 99%. But there is a little sidenote to make, suppose you oppose the facebook way of doing business and boycott them by not using it and pay the price of locking yourself out of the network? Would there be a limit to business practices that would make you not join such a system even if it is popular? Or would you use a suboptimal system minimally, just read and not post? The often unmentioned alternative “third” way.

    But I agree, I am pragmatic myself… there are some who *only* use linux, or only open source, with the viewpoint of make a better world start with yourself. True, but then you limit yourself… some paid software creates more value then the open source equavalent… and some networks even though “pure” like Friendica have no ‘friends’ you know in person as most don’t care or know better while Facebook while ‘tainted’, imperfect has all our friends. Like Betamax vs VHS, we pay a small price and gain mass compatibility. Likewise, for my religious framework I chose catholicism as it has the most extensive ‘library’, network and local presence.. even though it also has it’s issues… but that’s another discussion.
    Even better as the price of using a system can be brought to almost zero when you use smart crossposting tools with unified social inboxes: use all the big ones (twitter, G+, facebook).

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