Listen: Not because it is easy, but because it is hard
You chose to start a company (or embark on an endeavor). You are passionate about your idea. But often this same passion makes us deaf. We hear feedback, but don’t listen. We miss opportunities to make our product and company better and sometimes we miss the opportunity to succeed. Your ability to listen to information you are hearing is critical to building a company (or project or product) to last.
That said, it is hard. Hard to hear things as they are, not as we are. But as JFK said regarding the US choice to go to the moon “…that goal [in our case listening] will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” My goal with this talk is to give you 5 tips and techniques to take your hearing to listening; your listening to learning; your learning to winning.
Why should you listen to me? I’m a start-up person that’s been lucky enough to have a number of battle wounds and wins to share from helping build companies and ideas with some amazing teams: PTCG (logistics software, sold to American Airlines); Lycos (went public); Apps.com (online applications, sold to Intuit); Spreadshirt (ecommerce, 3x growth in 4 yrs) and Basis Technology (internationalization, re-positioned responding to market conditions); and Intuit’s Innovation Lab (founder) and Quickbase ($1mm to $10mm in 3.5 yrs). My biggest learning is that listening is the most critical and most underused tool that we have.