Words Of Wisdom

I’ve been reading Creative Capital, the biography of General Georges Doriot, Harvard Business School professor and President of American Research and Development (ARD), the first institutional venture capital firm.

I came across some words of wisdom that he imparted to his business school students and I think they are wonderful. So I’ll pass them on.

One should not only be able to criticize but should always have a suggestion to make.

Don’t challenge others’ statements, have them repeat them over again.

Conditions which are best for workers will give best production!

Ask about prospects who didn’t buy product.

Always challenge the statement that nothing can be done about a certain condition.

I love all of these, but I really love the first and last ones.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. slowblogger

    The second one is a great advice. Thank you for introducing.

  2. gregory

    oh, this is wonderful … simple good manners often have strategic value …. the last one is where india excels, finding an alternate way, and the first one is really challenging here, maybe because getting constantly criticized is rare in childhood, so when encountered as an adult it strikes way too deep … and i know i am generalizing, so all you desi readers cut me some slack, they are just my concern at the moment in bangalore.your range is one of the great charms of your blog. thanks

  3. peteonrails

    I’ve often found that my biggest job in fostering innovation is removing roadblocks. I consider it one of my most important duties to my investors. I like the advice outlined in this post because it seems to speak to that issue. The unspoken corollary seems to be: “Don’t be someone’s roadblock. Be the way around it.”

  4. Stephanos Anton Ballmerfeld

    I have read this four times! Inspirational!

  5. Alan Warms

    Fred -I love the last one. I call them “false choices” — people are always telling you, you can only do it X or Y — because they have a set paradigm of how things or how the business work — the key is to reject the premise of the false choice and try to come up with solution that works for everyone

  6. jill Stern

    Thanks for these lines, is the rest of the book worth reading?

    1. fredwilson

      Hard to say. I enjoyed it but mainly because I am so interested in thehistory of the venture capital business. It might be kind of boring for mostpeople.

  7. theschnaz

    Hi Fred,I read the first words of wisdom and couldn’t agree more. I thought this was an unwritten rule, especially in the startup world. When something is new, it’s much to easy to point out its flaws. Constructive criticism is alway welcomed, but one should provide a suggestion.I try to keep these words in mind whenever I give someone feedback or write about a product/service.

  8. Antman

    You liking the first one is great! It’s far too easy to criticise if you’re not asked or expected to have a suggestion. Love hearin’ this one commin’ from a V.C.BTW: Notice, the contridiction in 2 and 5? 2) Don’t challenge others statements . . . 3) Always challenge the statement . . .fundamentally, I like and agree, thanks for sharing.

  9. jules belen