validation

Extreme more than words

OK, a fun story since I wrote about the need to vaccinate yourself as an entrepreneur: it’s not a complete study, but from one man’s experience, simply knowing that certain events may happen on the path to success is enough to turn them from potentially crippling events to solid goalposts of validation.

Let me explain: in the past, a negative comment would simply validate every negative thing I’ve thought to myself about an idea, no matter how silly that thought might be. Despite all the opportunities our modern age offers, I’m often jealous of previous generations who communicated at the speed of fax and telegram, where someone had to make an effort to complain. In the modern age, an anonymous comment is super-simple to do, and oh, how those silly people used to sting me!

Now that I’m aware of the vaccination philosophy; that the path to success will in fact bring notice to your efforts and this notice will attract cheaply-dispensed criticism, it’s gone from something that I’d cringe at to something that says, hey, you’re on the right track, because this is what happens to people who’ve been on your path.

(Oh, and if you want some good practice in this area, put a few videos on YouTube. Commenters there are simply amazing.)

The trick now is to differentiate between objections that validate the business model and objections that are real and legitimate and risk getting swept under the rug as they seem to validate your actions. I don’t have a good metric for this, and just as I’m sure some real innovators throughout history were ridiculed by everyone they met before they proved their genius, I’m equally sure that some people are indeed crazy and should really listen to some of those objections and not treat everything that comes in as validation, regardless of if it’s negative or positive.

For me, right now, I’m inclined to turn negativity into validation from “haters,” as it were. If it continues for too long without some additional positive feedback I might have to reconsider, but I don’t have a timeframe. At the moment I’m simply enjoying the liberation of not only not caring what other people think but also letting it empower my next set of actions, because history tells me these facts are normal.

Oh, and normally I have a photo starting the post but nothing fits this new mindset, which I’ve taken as further validation. I was going to go with something like this, but the key New Idea is that no matter how much you point it out, your criticizers won’t get the distinction with your worldview. More on that later. Today you get a picture from an Extreme video that might fit, but I had bad prom flashbacks halfway through so I don’t know.

free advice by functoruser

The greatest thing about the internet is that no matter how crazy your opinion, you’re going to be able to find some site somewhere that appears credible that happens to back you up 100%.

And you know what that’s cool? You don’t have to take me to lunch to get the experience.

This isn’t a rant, per se, but a general observation as someone who’s known in his social circles as a guy who knows something about “that internet thing” which for these purposes is a topic that encompasses websites, social media, startups, iPhones, and everything in between.  It’s like the old days pre-web where if you said you worked in computers people automatically assumed you could fix their printer, because that’s what computer people did before the web, but now it’s broader, thankfully, kind of.

The thing is, in 95% of the cases where I’ve followed up, my advice isn’t taken unless it sounds very much like “yes, that’s exactly what you should do, I agree completely.”

And to some, the solution to that is to charge a consulting fee for your advice, so at least people are quote unquote serious about your time. And yes, this at least gets you compensated in more ways than a lunch, but it doesn’t escape the core conceptual problem, in that your advice is valued directly by how much it provides validation to the initial line of thinking from the asker.

There is a reason why many people view consultants (the ones who get repeat business, anyway,) as people who are very good at taking what you say, reformulating it, and charging you to hear it repeated.  I’m not saying that’s true, and frankly it’s a bit cynical, but the fact that it’s observed at all means the pattern exists enough, and probably with good reason.

So before you ask me, or anyone else what you should do about something, ask yourself in advance: what will your reaction be if the feedback is the opposite of where you’re hoping it’ll go?

(Again, not a rant, and not based on any recent of distant experiences in particular. More of an idea I’m trying to live by, on both sides of that lunch table.)

Free advice (that hopefully validates) via photo from functoruser