Confession: I Hate Unicorns

Today is national 𝐔𝐍𝐈𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐍🦄 day. Yes, there REALLY is such a thing!

And I HATE unicorns! Not the mythological creature, just the label used to describe some data scientists and startups. It's so darn pretentious.

In ancient descriptions by Greek historian Ctesias (400 BC), the creature is associated with rareness, purity, beauty, protection, and salvation, and even today, it still carries these connotations. That label suggests a level of magnificence beyond reproach — and collaboration. As a data scientist who once co-founded a startup, I find that data science and entrepreneurship are among the worst domains to apply that label. I believe in the suggestive power of words, and if we are to challenge ourselves, unicorn status should remain unattainable.

Featured image by: Tomohiro Inaba

In my experience, data and startup endeavors require ample collaboration, humility, and constant challenges. They involve hiking steep mountains with no summit, and you are not alone because, out in the real world, they are inherently team sports. They also operate outside of your comfort zone, and if you get too comfortable, watch out! Any time now, you will tumble down the mountain!

What do you think? Do you think it is an appropriate label?