Run from feedback…to your demise

February 17th, 2012
[ General ]

We began Startupify.Me last week and one thing they certainly learned during the first week is that feedback is an entirely different beast in the real world. By real world, I mean the world of being an entrepreneur, creating something from nothing. Not the safe confines of a workplace or school. There’s a quote I was reminded of constantly during that first week.

“Success requires no apologies, failure permits no alibis”

You can pitch to me all you want, it really doesn’t matter what I think. The only value I can offer is blunt, harsh feedback. I can’t validate your idea. I can’t prove you right, wrong, scared or confused. You’re either on your way to having a business or you aren’t. I don’t decide that and neither do you. In this world, all that matters is your customer and your end user.

In corporations, academia, politics, etc it’s about winning favours. It’s about what the people above you think. Your main goal is to please them. Do that and you’re good. Do you like me? Did I do good? Step out into the real world and no one cares if your boss likes your idea. That gets you nothing.

It’s what I love about working in this world. I can sit with a group of entrepreneurs and we all beat the crap out of each other and our projects. The difference is that we all know it really doesn’t matter. It makes us stronger and pushes us to the real success we’re after. When that success comes, a large part of the reward is no longer having to explain and justify what you’re doing. I don’t really care if you ‘get it’, I have customers, revenue, a business.

A musician friend of mine was playing a show a few weeks back. I asked him if some of our common friends would be there. His response was “no idea. We don’t need friends, we have fans now”. Sounds arrogant but that’s not him. They have success, that’s it.

You need feedback from mentors, advisors, peers but it’s worthless unless you can reframe what criticism is. You do need critical feedback from peers. Seek it out. Cherish it. Celebrate it. Thank people for it. Pay them for it. Reward them for it. It’s constructive suggestion and you will be better for it. If you treat it like feedback at a job, ie my goal is to eliminate the bad feedback and attain purely good feedback, then you’re dead. Well you’re project is dead…