No one wants to tell you your baby is ugly

Ugly Baby

No one wants to tell you your baby is ugly.  It’s awkward.  Think of it from their perspective.  If you show them a picture and then ask, “what do you think of my pride and joy?”  Despite the honest answer that everyone knows (damn! she’s ugly!) the universal response is a form of, “you must be proud.”

The same thing goes for startups.  If you ask someone, “what do you think of my business idea?” you’re going to get some version of, “you must be proud.”  I think a large fraction of founders fall for this trap and set about building companies based on this feedback.  Don’t fall into that trap.

So here’s the trick to avoid this.  Ask your question in the third person.  Something like, “I’m thinking of investing [my time and energy] in this company…what do you think of them?”  You’ll get an entirely different (and candid) answer.

Don’t believe me?  Take a picture of your kid and ask some people what they think about this picture, “of your friend’s kid.” LOL.