Can a disgruntled former 1990s entrepreneur report objectively on his former stomping ground, business conferences? Judging by this WSJ piece, the answer is “No”. The author tries for an irony-fuelled Michael Lewis observational approach, but it quickly becomes obvious that he has an axe to grind with pretty much everyone, from academics, to consultants, to entrepreneurs.
While that might be somewhat forgivable if his prose was strong, it’s not. For example, consider the folllowing snippet. It is about how wearying it has become to listen to entrepreneurs du jour babble about their success:
” … business celebrities looked amazingly alike — a young man, wearing an alternately smug and startled expression, tousled hair and Banana Republic clothes accompanied by a posse of equally young and self-important “handlers” masquerading as a management team. (I am afraid I played the latter role at least one too many times.)”
This wants to be good stuff, but instead it teeters and then falls into cliches, replete with “tousled hair” and “self-important” entrepreneurs. Of course they are that way — I have only read it two or three million times already though.
He has two choices: deliver fresher observations, or give more of himself, assuming he can control his obvious frustration at not being up on the stage.