Rash Decisions Are Not Good Decisions
By Jeff Sayre
I recently posted an article entitled, Looking for Two Startup Partners 35-plus years Old.
It is interesting how some people quickly jumped to conclusions and made sweeping assumptions based on a single blog article, or worse yet, blog title. Although the majority of people who have taken the time to comment or tweet about this post have been positive about my efforts, a small minority (across the age spectrum), have been negative, even seemingly offended.
I’ve concluded that this latter group must not have read the post in its entirety. In fact, it is very possible that they got emotionally thrown-off guard by the title and didn’t bother reading the post at all. The other likely scenario is that they only read the first half of the post and found it disagreeable so they did not finish reading the rest.
Either way, it is a shame when people make accusations–are prejudiced–based on a few words. It is an unfortunate fact that some people will judged you on little more than a few words or sentences. They will not take the time to learn more about who you are before rendering an opinion.
Now I have thick skin. When you’ve been through a life-threatening illness, not sure whether you would live another year, you learn what is truly important and are able to filter out most impacts of personal attacks, illogical drivel, and emotionally-charged, incorrect assertions.
Although the title of my post was somewhat sensational, it did speak directly to the issue of ageism in the VC-funding of web startups. This is a real issue.
But, my article only used that issue to build a bridge to the larger point—that what matters in startup founders in not age, but their experience, skills, and maturity. In fact, near the end of my piece I state this:
Now, I am not an ageist by any stretch of the imagination. So, if you’re an exceptional under-35 year old who is interested in this opportunity, send an email convincing me that you’re the one I should pick. You will still be required to meet all the requirements except age.
So, when it comes to my search for exceptionally-talented startup partners, this post is really not about age. I’ll gladly consider anyone, regardless of their age—although when choosing a founder, the experience-bar must be set higher.
Rash Decisions Are Not Good Decisions
The fact that someone tweeted today calling me “utterly pompous” for my statements in that article, does not surprise me nor upset me. Whenever someone sends a negative tweet about something I’ve said or written, I always engage them in respectful debate. Some will reply, a few simply ignore my tweets. My purpose is to better communicate my original message and learn what in particular set them off.
When I received that tweet this morning, I sent off three, quick tweets encouraging him to read the whole article and explaining that the major point of that piece was that I’m looking for two experienced people with the skills to be founders. I told him that it was really not about age at all.
He eventually sent another tweet back but has not yet recanted his remark. That’s fine. He’s entitled to his opinion. I have big enough shoulders. If I’m ever in need of the services his firm offers, I’ll fully assess the firm’s strengths and weakness. I will not jump to conclusions based on the little interaction that I’ve had with one of its partners.
This experience made me realize another essential quality of a great leader—to be slow to judgement. If you are too quick to judge, then you are likely a person that misses key information that could make a difference to your business’ success. You may be prone to letting emotions influence your judgement too much. Instead of making a rash assumption about a person, project, or opportunity, do your homework. Properly assess the situation so you know as much of the truth as possible before making your decision.