Start-up cul­ture is now the linch­pin of Wes­tern Civi­li­za­tion

Two things got me thinking today:

1. A recent story in the Wall Street Journal about JUST HOW HARD it is to do a start-up in Spain.

2. Yet another sad story in today’s edition of The Guardian about Spain’s very grave economic woes.

Are the two connected? Of course they are.

Start-up culture is now the linchpin of Western Civilization, and any society that doesn’t “get it” will fail long-term.

That is what I truly believe, anyway.

When I say “Start-up culture”, I’m not just talking about the little techie goldfish bowl that is Silicon Valley; I’m talking about something far more global and universal; I’m talking about the ability of normal folk to start businesses successfully with as little interference as possible from the usual suspects..

“gapingvoid is a startup. gapingvoid makes art for startups. A no-brainer, really”

Ergo, when the team talks about gapingvoid doing “Art For Start-ups”, we’re not just talking about Silicon Valley, or Internet and technology businesses.

We’re talking about something bigger. Bigger and global. Something that yes, we believe our civilization’s very long-term survival depends on.

I think it’s something worth being part of, something worth fighting for. You?


  1. Yes, it’s worth being a part of and fighting for. In my experience, the start-up is the easy part. It’s the keep-up that needs some intensive care treatment.

    Best to you,

    Budding young toonist inspired by @gapingvoid ;)

  2. Maybe in some perverse way, it’s so hard to build a startup in Europe (France is almost the same as Spain, limited responsibility works somewhat better, but only until the bank tells you you need to mortgage your personal belongings to get that loan, all the rest is the same, and it’s even harder to sack someone), that those who do succeed are able to survive after that.

  3. I have been thinking some of the same thoughts on my blog yesterday – but it’s true.. I won’t even say that it’s only startups – it’s also stuff like the lines between art, entrepreneurship and freelancers has been blurred, instead there’s just… us =)

  4. <>

    I agree. I think startup culture really needs to expand beyond high-tech & Silicon Valley. My friends and I are in the process of starting an incubator and accelerator in Sacramento for the “everyday entrepreneur”. These are skills we need for this century!

    Good work Hugh. I love your blog to bits!

  5. Goliath was a “start-up” first … (think so)

  6. Practika says:

    Coming from the “start-up nation”, I wanted to say how major the culture of startups is in our country (Israel) and how it has positively affected society as a whole.
    I love your blog and completely identify with your vision of the world.
    Keep searching and good luck!


  1. [...] With the Euro-Crisis, the ‘PIGS’ countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) would seem to have the embrace of failure well in hand. Unfortunately, it is the wrong kind of failure (sort of like the wrong kind of leaves on the rail lines). Perhaps that right kind of failure would have helped Spain to avert some of its current difficulties. And the right kind is the entrepreneurial kind that Hugh MacLeod describes in his post “Start-up culture is now the linch­pin of Wes­tern Civilization”… [...]

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

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