My husband Mark and I have fundamentally and radically different taste in music. He listens to a lot of jam bands, like Widespread Panic and the Dead. I’ve been to a lot of the Widespread Panic shows because many of our friends love the music as well, and the scene is a complete blast. But when being honest, it’s pretty much the last music on the planet I’d chose to hear if given options. In fact, I’d rather listen to silence than that type of music. It’s a source of tension in our marriage because I’ve resorted to snide remarks about it. (yes, not good, I know).
One day, rightfully so, he had enough of my nasty comments. And he said to me something like “It’s not that the band sucks or that the music is shit. Its that YOU don’t like the music – so quit projecting your opinion as fact.” His comment has stuck with me (and is yet another example of why he’s such an amazing human being), and I began to realize how often I’ve taken my perspective and generalize it to the rest of the world. Its more often than I’d like to admit, so I’ve been actively working on rephrasing how I say things to more accurately reflect that something is my opinion rather than a widely-held truth. It’s true at Techstars as well, we tell mentors to state things as opinions, to share with teams their experiences, rather than stating perspectives as fact. And we warn teams to beware of the person who states their opinion as fact.
Today, I’m reading Conscious Business and the author put a term to this patten. He calls it ontological arrogance, and its the belief that your perspective is privileged, that yours is the only true way to interpret a situation. He goes on to use the example of his daughter, that she says she won’t eat broccoli because its yukky. But the real truth is that she calls broccoli yukky because she doesn’t like it.
I find this fascinating, and since I’ve discovered there’s a term for it, I’ve noticed how often it happens outside of my own actions. Nearly daily, if not hourly, someone I interact with does this.
I’m curious as to all the ways ontological arrogance is holding us back, and holding me back. Off the top of my head, I can tell you it’s probably a huge driver in startups as they seek product/market fit. A team has a hard time getting out of their own head (hence why customer development methodology has really taken off). I know it happens in board meetings, I know it happens with investors. I’d argue that not being able to see other people’s perspectives is a major factor in entrepreneurial and investor success.
So today, I’m making a public commitment to massively reduce my ontological arrogance. I’ve started by simply rephrasing how I talk In an effort to affect how I think. Just by saying “my opinion is xxxx” will help (I hope). But I need your help too. If you catch me doing it, highlight it for me.
Maybe we’ll all be a little more successful for it.
October 11th is the last day to apply for the R/GA Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The 3 month program is focused on connected devices and is based in NYC. As is standard with all Techstars programs, you’ll have access to the leading mentors from NYC, Techstars, Makers, Marketers, major brands, any people who are experts in all things connected devices. The 10 best companies will get:
It’s perfect for teams still ideating, have a working prototype, or up to about $2M in revenue or funding.
Get all the details at http://www.RGAAccelerator.com.
OR just follow along on TW with @RGAaccelerator
If you’re an entrepreneur or a startup, and want to help get Colorado back on it’s feet after the flood last week, consider donating to EFCO, the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Colorado.
As a startup, you’re largely supported by your community. Now’s the time to return the support.
If you’re interested in contributing, donate here, choose “Flood Relief” and dedicate to EFCO, so we can track the impact.
If you haven’t caught any of the events for Denver Startup Week this week, now’s the time to get involved. Denver Startup Week is a celebration of all things entrepreneurial in Denver, and its in its last 2 days.
Tomorrow, I’m doing office hours as a contribution to EFCO, the Entrepreneurial Foundation of Colorado. And while the hours are already booked, there are lots of great events today and tomorrow still.
Hope to see you there!
I’m enjoyingmy first afternoon tea experience, here in London. Felt like an appropriate place to get familiar with the custom.
It’s white glove service, down to the server putting my white linen napkin on my lap for me. There’s a harpist playing behind me, the Thames is flowing lazily at my feet, I’m surrounded by sophisticated ladies in hats with feathers and veils, and I’ve just experienced what a scone is supposed to taste like. They’re delicious! I’m doing my best to look like I belong here.
Sadly, I also dropped the raspberry merengue in my lap, so now my black skirt is smeared with white merengue mush. To add insult to injury, I attempted to rescue the dessert as it was still falling and managed to splash most of my peach-white-tea (picked only 2 nights a year off a special bush in china and flown in within 24 hrs of harvest) on my cream colored top. It made quite the commotion (all that fine bone china clanking around in my clumsiness) and the whole restaurant turned to see the source of the noise. The distraction even caused the harpist to miss a string or two (I think, or maybe that was my heart pounding from embarrassment over her beautiful melodies).
So if you happen to spot me somewhere, and I look sophisticated, I promise you I’m faking it.
It’s going to be a fun year for me!
First of all, I’m thrilled to say that I’m looking forward to another great class in NYC in 2014, as I’ll continue to head efforts there. We’re committed to another 4 programs in NYC, and it just keeps getting better. Plus I’m about to make some changes that will enable the teams to get even more out of the program. Next program dates will be announced soon.
I’m ALSO thrilled to say that I’ll be running Techstars Boulder in 2014 too. Boulder has been my home for 13 years, and while it was good to take a year off and learn from the amazing Luke Beatty, I’m excited to be back (and we wish Luke the best of luck!).
So you’re about to see a whole lot more of me…
If you want better bottom lines – you put women at the helm. Women make such amazing entrepreneurs, and I LOVE to see this movement taking hold. On September 3rd, Startup Phenomenon Women is taking place. It’s a conference geared for both women AND men to understand how to better support women into more startups.
Join myself and some other amazing women at this great conference in Boulder. Get your tickets today, they’re going fast.