Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Lots of famous entrepreneurs and scientists are known for almost blindingly tough feedback. "This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard," they say. One well-known Internet leader is known for canceling products just before launch because "sorting my socks by color is more important than releasing this." How arrogant.

I'm starting to wonder whether this is actually learned behavior.

First, they learned that smart people love honest feedback. Smart people want to improve; When faced with criticism, they work hard to make it right. Delivering feedback in a needlessly hard-hitting way makes them work even harder, thus producing better results. Which in turns makes our fearless leader more successful. And more arrogant.

Just my random thought of the day.


Nivi said...

In my experience the most successful entrepreneurs and investors are amazingly positive and thoughtful with their feedback, not "tough" or "arrogant".

Gabor said...

Nivi - that's good input. In reality, you have to obviously strike a balance between encouragment and critique. I was talking about the way that such critique was delivered.

langer said...

I'm not sure your conclusion of arrogance always follows here Gabor -

Arrogance is defined as
"making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming;"

Your scenario might well lead to one becoming less assuming. Consider the case when one has just had there initial assumptions ripped apart with hard-hitting feedback; are they likely to make more claims and be more overbearingly assuming in the future?

Gabor said...

Howdy! I should make clear, I'm not supporting arrogance. Being arrogant to fellow Xobnis, for example, does not mesh well with my personality type.

However, I have observed that successfull people tend to make more hard-hitting, crass statements, and I was wondering why that is.

langer said...

I wasn't suggesting you are - despite your antics in the recruitment video :-P

I have got a little theory on this though -

The more successful one is, the greater the gap between their standard and the people to which they're giving feedback (generally!). Also, people tend to subconsciously assume that other people are like them / share their understanding or point of view.

Well if this assumption remains, but the gap increases, I would guess the result is more and more frustration, contempt and hard-hitting feedback.

Are those the lines along which you were thinking?

Gabor said...

Yes, nicely put