The best founders, in general, have a great deal of empathy. That might seem like a strange thing to say – the cliche of the ruthless startup CEO hiring and firing, and making tough decisions, is very strong in popular culture. I accept that there are well-known exceptions that prove the rule. In my personal experience, understanding how people work, what their needs are, and what motivates them, is far more useful in the long run. It has often been said that running a startup is like playing poker. You can do everything right, and still lose. You can do everything wrong, and still win. That doesn’t mean you should be reckless. Your best shot at success is still to make the right decisions. In fact, success often comes down to simply surviving long enough. That means not making the wrong decisions. Make a few wrong decisions playing poker, and you quickly end up bust. The same goes for a startup. With this mental model in mind, you can see how deciding to use empathy is a good long-term strategy, in that it helps you avoid alienating people that you need onside. You need to get inside the heads of… Read full this story
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