Entrepreneurs: the Blind Leading the Blind

Entrepreneurs: the Blind Leading the Blind

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

6328793845_ce9e5a7028_mI apologize if this insults any of you, but I find a good deal of humor in the idea that the best answers come from peers.

Peers who most often have similar backgrounds and experiences as the person asking the question—here’s a great example.

Without much effort I can think of dozens of places to ask about working in a startup that would offer better information than peers who not only haven’t worked in a startup, but are lacking much, if any, post-school work experience.

It’s a classic case of the blind leading the blind.

New entrepreneurs often indulge in this kind of behavior.

Although they reach out and listen to highly successful entrepreneurs and investors, their actions frequently follow the advice they get from peers.

Quick story, short version. I’d been acting as an occasional sounding board for “Jerrod.” He called last summer in a quandary; several experienced entrepreneurs and investors had suggested that he pivot his company in a different direction, not a total change, but different from what he originally envisioned.

Jerrod was loathe to change and when he discussed it with other entrepreneurs several encouraged him to stay with his original vision and said his passion would carry him though, while a few felt that the advisory types probably had good reason for what they said.

Jerrod asked what I thought and after hearing everything I agreed with the need for a pivot.

That wasn’t the answer he wanted and he informed me that none of us really understood his vision and he was sticking with the original plan.

I haven’t heard from Jerrod since, but I’ve heard from others that his company is struggling.

I’ve also seen that two companies occupying his “pivot space” were recently funded and knowing the investment community there may be others.

Why? Especially with all the solid information and help available do some entrepreneurs put themselves and their babies, I mean companies, in harms way by following the advice of entrepreneurs with a similar depth of experience and knowledge, while others listen, process, and act on the advice of people whose knowledge was hard-won and who carry the startup scars to prove it.

Flickr image credit: gerbisson

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