In some perverse way, I’ve come to the realization that if larger company (well, usually the verbage they will try and use is the word “partner”) is trying to screw you over, you’ve officially made it in the big leagues. It means they’ve stopped thinking of you as some rando company that they’re just trying to help out because their boss said so (because he saw us on TV and likes what we do) and they’re thinking damn. They can make us serious money. We should ride them. Hard. Until we can’t ride them anymore.
If the thoughts, holy shit don’t they have any integrity how hypocritical can an organization be, run through your mind, then you’ve probably been in this situation before. Which is also why I really appreciate the fact we are in the regular corporate space. Because I feel like this happens everywhere, but at least I can justify it by saying well, they’re supposed to be assholes. That’s their job. Being hypocritical, assholes.
But see, I can handle the asshole part- it’s the hypocrisy that gets to me. Which is probably why I really like working with governments (NOTE: this does NOT include politicians and elected officials). The regular joe government (non elected) officials are not trying to pretend. They’ll lay it out for you. This is what I care about, and this isn’t. (At least you can deduce that). They’re pretty straight shooters. And for the record, most of them really aren’t assholes (even though they come off that way)- they are just misunderstood. At least most of the ones I have worked with. I usually get where they are coming from.
Government contractors on the other hand. Man. If you saw the ish that goes on in that space, man. You would cringe. It’s just so sad. I mean, I understand why things are the way they are. It’s hard to place blame on one party- it’s just the vicious cycle that has been perpetuating for decades and decades. It’s like being in a warzone and watching the same war being fought, day after day, with millions lying dead on the battlefield and no end in sight.
And yes, we are right in the middle. With many people trying to kill us. I think of us as the war doctor. You know, the military doctors that actually are there to save lives. As doctors, they could choose to be anywhere. But they’ve chosen to be there, out on the battlefield, to save as many lives as they can. And to support their side. Support their country of choice.
I guess that’s how I feel about being in the government contracting space. We could really be anywhere, doing anything we want. Most startups stay out of the government space for this particular reason. But I WANT to be on the side of the government. Because in this war, I don’t think they have any real friends. Only frenemies trying to make a buck at the cost of the citizens the government is serving (no matter what their slogans and company values say). And even with all this crap, even with all these parties trying to crush you, it gives me comfort to know that we stick to our values and we fight for what we think is right.
And I really hope that one day, as the spoils of war that we will eventually win, we can show other government contractors that you really don’t have to be hypocritical assholes to make a buck. All you have to do is make great products that actually produce change and create REAL value for the people.
Apparently, (barring marketing slogans and MBA induced PowerPoints) it’s a foreign concept in this space.
And trying to do what your slogans actually say is heretical, punishable by death.
Let the war begin.