Saying No

Growing up, my mom would always tell me the hardest thing for her was saying no.

I’ve got a bit of that in me too. But being in the venture capital business, I say no at least ten times a day and often more. I’ve gotten used to bumming people out. It’s the nature of the business.

I was at a board meeting yesterday and after the meeting ended we had sandwiches with the entire senior team. It was great. I wish we’d do stuff like that more often (we meaning all the boards I am on).

We talked about a wide range of things, but one thing stuck in my mind. Apparently one of the senior team members is known for saying "the best answer to most questions is no".

I liked that. Startups can go in many directions. There’s always the desire to please the customers. But knowing what you are going to do and focusing on it is so critical. Saying yes might seem like no big deal. It’s only a few lines of code, right? Wrong. It’s never just a few lines of code. So say no as often as you can. It’s counter intuitive to the entrepreneur mindset, but it’s critical.