Lying Not The Best Career Strategy, Turns Out

TechCrunch has posted a TAKEDOWN PIECE of a young woman named Shirley Hornstein who FOOLED SILICON VALLEY into giving her jobs and letting her into parties with a clever mix of namedropping and photoshopping.

The piece by Anthony Ha reveals that she was a Silicon Valley staple, making it onto “top twenty” lists and generally fooling people at every turn. Things started to come apart when Sean Parker’s Founders Fund took legal action against her last year to get her to stop saying she was affiliated with the company (OOPS).


Don’t say you know people that you don’t know! Don’t say you have worked at companies where you have not worked! And don’t photoshop yourself into pictures with celebrities and post them to your social media feeds to give you “cred” (not actually a picture of her with Justin Timberlake, research shows). Someone eventually is going to feel stupid for believing you! And then they will write a post on a website to take you down and it will become the top hit on Google when someone types in your name. Career ENDER. (Well, in an alternate universe at least—reality TV stars have been made from less.)

The TechCrunch post strikes me as kind of mean-spirited, but I think it comes from an understandable place—it sucks to have been had. This wasn’t mentioned in the TechCrunch post, but they fell for her, too; here she is in a video last year on the TechCrunch blog, representing Zaarly and namedropping TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington. Also featured in this video is my hometown buddy and TechCrunch assistant Greg Barto, recipient of a free haircut … and free lies.

(Is that burying the lede? It doesn’t actually seem relevant that I know someone who knows her, but maybe it is actually?) (The world is so, so small.) (I guess this is where I should also say that I was just reminded on GCHAT that I met her once in the street for two seconds but I have NO REMEMBRANCE OF THIS and therefore NO INSIGHT and NO OPINION and  TO CLAIM SO would be doing the same thing that she’s doing, but instead of namedropping Justin Timberlake, I’d be namedropping a person who namedropped Justin Timberlake.)

This has gotten more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t lie. Really, ever. Just don’t lie to anyone.



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