Ok, so truth be told (which is what I do), this is more of a rant than straight advice. Although, this would qualify as good advice for almost anyone and especially entrepreneurs. Don’t be fake. People seem to live in constant fear of hurting people’s feelings, letting people down or they just hate saying no. So, they say whatever they think the other person wants to hear. Usually this amounts to false praise or dishonest claims of affection. This is not a good practice.
Sometimes, they’re even proactive about it. They meet someone at a networking event and say, “Hey, we should definitely work on a project together sometime!” In reality, they have no intention of doing that. They just want to score some points for suggesting it. Then they hope that you’ll forget all about their offer. Not being fake myself, I’m not quite sure what they’re hoping to gain from this. Maybe they want you to leave with a more favorable opinion of them? What really happens is that any person that tries to take them up on their offer ends up being disappointed and probably thinking that the other person is a phony that makes offers that they have no intention of keeping.
What’s the harm, you ask? It make people happy? Yes, it does in the short run. In the long run though, when they find out that you’re not genuine, they will be much more hurt than if you had been honest at the outset. Also, you’re damaging their barometer. They start wondering if everyone is being fake. Does anyone like what they’re doing? Maybe what they’re working on is so bad that people are afraid to be honest with them. This is death for entrepreneurs. Good, honest feedback is what allows an entrepreneur to make informed decisions, to iterate and to strategize. Puffing them up with false praise does them no favors. It just leads them down the wrong path.
We’ve reached a place in society where people can’t handle the truth anymore, about anything. People aren’t lazy. People aren’t fat. People aren’t stupid. There are no losers. I hate to break it to everyone, but it doesn’t matter what you call something, it doesn’t change its nature. A ceramic waste capture and disposal device is still a toilet. People still poop in them. A little honesty is a good thing. The sooner someone knows the truth of their situation, the sooner they can make a change to fix it. It’s a lot easier to fix a product before you start manufacturing it. While, honest feedback might not win you any friends while everyone else is heaping praise on someone, if we were all (tactfully) honest, people would have a much easier time gauging what they should be doing and making improvements to their lives, their businesses and their health.
So, here’s the bottom line, if my product makes no sense to you, let me know. If you think I’m looking pudgy (and I ask you), let me know. If you don’t want to do something with me, don’t offer. Will it hurt my feelings a bit? Maybe, but I’ll be stronger for it and I’ll thank you for it in the long run.