I recently watched a Richard Branson Interview. There was something in it, that I couldn’t quite get out of my head. Besides the usual talk about failure and success, he mentioned something that I keep experiencing for myself.
In the interview he took a good part talking about handling criticism that keeps arising whenever he does something new:
“People keep saying things like ‘my balloon is going to burst’ and every time we started something new they said that I am stretching the brand too thin. Sometimes they went far off the truth. It’s important not to listen to that!”
To put this into perspective – Richard Branson is a 60 year old self-made billionaire. He owns his own island and his own space program. He works with world leaders all over the globe in charity programs. You might say that guy is rather successful at what he does – and he is STILL talking about other people’s criticism and dealing with it.
Now don’t get me wrong. Criticism and feedback are at the core of what makes every great product in the end. Right now we are desperately looking for people who will tear us apart and tell us why we might not succeed. But we want to listen only if they can back up what they say – and it gets annoying when people just want to throw poo in your face.
I experienced this first hand today, when somebody who visited our latest MVP left the remark that site was the worst experience he had all day. Nothing else, no feedback.
Well, thank you, Sir!
I tried not to let it get to me and there were tons of logical reasons not to. But it did annoy me…
Rappers take the short cut by simply referring to “haters” – And they make an interesting point! When you meet someone who has no Idea what you’re doing, what your product is and how hard you are working on it, you really shouldn’t listen if he tells you “all you do is crap“. Vilifying them makes it easier to ignore what they say.
I heard these kinds of skeptics before, when we launched our first company. Pretty much everyone around me told me I was crazy. We didn’t know what we were doing, there was no way we would ever make any money with it, and the market is full already – we wouldn’t come very far with this. In the last year we have managed to falsify a number of those assumptions. Still, it would have been so much easier if we didn’t have to listen to all that yelling in the background.
However – Listening to a 60 year old billionaire still talking about the issues of haters reassures me that I will never stop hearing what is basically noise. So it is probably the best strategy to play your own Rock’n’Roll much louder than that.
Here’s the play-button.