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May 09, 2007

Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Ignoring Is Bliss and Then Some


Where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise—“On a Distant Prospect of Eton College” by Thomas Gray

With all due respect to Thomas Gray, he missed the target when it comes to entrepreneurship: ignorance isn’t bliss, ignoring is. For example, last week I posted a “help wanted” entry soliciting “truemorists” for a site called Truemors.

In the first forty-eight hours or so there were forty-one comments on this posting. Of these responses seven (17%) condemned the idea:

  1. Did you hear that Guy is the new Perez Hilton? He must be out of his mind! Please tell me this post is a joke.

  2. Did you hear that Guy has sunk to a new low? Come on Guy… gossip is one step away from pornography.

  3. All the pitch’s you hear, and this is the kind of thing you want to attach your name and valuable reputation to…another hurtful, hateful gossip site/company?

  4. stick to tech, guy, that’s what you are. don’t cover hollywood gossip bs.

  5. I hope (think) Guy is joking. Like we really need more “gotchas” and “scooping”!! To wit…I was going to write an article about my visit(s) to Virginia Tech last week to hand out 600 “Hokie Hope” buttons to the students — the rub “the local newspaper implied that the Hokie story might be a little stale now” — amazing! Give me something fresh like Brittany rehab or anything Anna Nicole! Geeesh Guy say it ain’t so!

  6. shameless trolling. truly shameless. obvious the mentoring and art of the start mentality is falling by the wayside in one man’s quest for power (or jut technorati rankings) way to go the path of the lemming, dude yamaha

  7. I hope this is a joke?

This is fascinating. Based on an intentionally sketchy posting and without seeing how Truemors functions, 17% of the commenters got all twisted up in negatives. What do you think would have happened if founders listened to pre-release comments about selling used printers online (eBay), creating the tenth search engine (Google), building personal computers for hobbyists (Apple), enabling people to tell their friends that their cat rolled over (Twitter), or rating whether people are good looking (HotorNot)?

Truemors, and your idea, might not succeed, but if you listen to the naysayers, you won’t even try. Then, for sure you won’t succeed. The first lesson is:

If you believe in something, go for it. This is the only way to really find out. Mathematically, the naysayers are right 95% of the time, but believing you’re in the 5% is what makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurs.

By the way, 119 people responded positively to the posting too. :-) This yields the second lesson:

If you want help, ask for it. There is a cost to keeping something completely secret and trying to avoid public criticism. As my mother used to say, “If you don’t blog, you don’t get.”

The third lesson is that the best question you can ask someone who condemns something new is this:

“Have you tried it yet or are you just reacting to what you’ve heard?”

Generally, the more vehement the condemnation, the less likely the person has even tried it. I learned this when I discovered that the people who were most anti-Macintosh were the people who had never used one.

To paraphrase Mr. Spock, “Ignore long and prosper.”


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» Entrepreneurship from Philip Stears | Me
I saw something today on Guy Kawasaki's blogthat for some reason gave me pause for thought: If you believe in something, go for it. This is the only way to really find out. Mathematically, the naysayers are right 95% of [Read More]

» Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Ignoring Is Bliss and Then Some from Gubatron
Hi Guy Kawaasaki!!!,Trackback from wedoit4you.com on Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Ignoring Is Bliss and Then Some at http://www.wedoit4you.com/archive/2007/05/09 [Read More]

» If you trust the naysayers from brilliantdays.com
you will never have success. I read this at Guy Kawasakis blog today: What do you think would have happened if founders listened to pre-release comments about selling used printers online (eBay), creating the tenth search engine (Google),... [Read More]

» ignoring is not always ignorance from NextBlitz
Guy Kawasaki blogged about this lesson for entrepreneurs on his How to Change the World Blog. The post is not just theoretical - Guy has been there from the entrepreneur side, VC side, and CEO side. Guy's point is that [Read More]

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I was busy writing a sweet post on my thoughts about Seths latest post when I ran accross someone who already said what I was looking to say. (Sometimes you just cant say it any better ) Stu writes: Seth Godin today writes that w... [Read More]

» Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Ignoring Is Bliss and Then Some from Gubatron
Hi Guy Kawaasaki!!!,Trackback from wedoit4you.com on Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Ignoring Is Bliss and Then Some at http://www.wedoit4you.com/archive/2007/05/09 [Read More]

» What to do with acritic. from
There you are having a (insert beverage of choice) with your colleagues and you decide to tell them about an idea you had last night. As they sit there staring at you one of them will inevitably say something like Thats the dumbest thing... [Read More]

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If you are not familiar with Guy Kawasaki, or know of him but have yet to read his blog, be sure to check out his recent post titled, Lessons for Entrepreneurs: Ignoring Is Bliss and Then Some. While the post is about lessons learned from... [Read More]

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For years, news publishers have relied on tips from their readers as a source for new stories; a new web startup from Guy Kawasaki that just launched, institutionalizes this approach by providing a forum for users to post true rumors [Read More]

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GJ and Guy; I understand you are in the same club. Love u both :-)

(1) market servey is dead for starting new using stats
(2) only 5% of servey is "useful"=support the initiation. Neys are discounted at 95%..(sound like search for "yes man")
(3) Neys for me are better triger for the thought process and prevent the pitfalls
(4) Ignor after complete the thought process (analytical) is recommended (therefore, the servey is valid for improve the logical thinking).

If you have passion, do it. Don't fear to fail.

Rajesh Shakya

It has launched so that's its first success. It wouldn't say a lot about Guy if he was a afraid to fail and never tried new things. Everybody and every organization has to take chances on new ideas. If we all become so paranoid of failure what good would any of his previous advice be worth. The criticism itself is yet another good example to others that you have to keep trying in spite of the challenges you face to your ideas. Good luck to Guy and to anyone with an idea.

Dear Guy, The reason I why was surprised regarding your "request for help" was that I admire you and the "change the world" blog. I do not think that participating in the Truemors venture is "good branding" for you. I also hope my "change of profile joke" wasn't offending. In a way it was a test of the Truemors consept. To say that all of us being negative to the idea and your request are naysayers make me believe that you are a bit sensitive to critics. I am for sure positive to almost anything that can contribute to positively change the world.

This post is very insightful, but I think gossip is a bit stale now, or is it? hmmm...

If you are a naysayer and correct you get nothing but an "I told you so". However, if you are an entrepreneur and correct you get the pot of gold.

Guy wrote: People somehow think that rumors are evil. I don't. There are good ones and bad ones, true ones and untrue ones.

Guy, are you telling me you have never been on the receiving end of an ugly, false rumor? What's the difference, IYHO, between a "bad" rumor and an "evil" one?

Here's the meaning: Truemors is one more step in the democratization of information.

Oh, really?

de·moc·ra·cy [di-MOK-ruh-see] - noun.

Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

an·ar·chy [an-er-kee] - noun.

Absence of any form of political authority.
Political disorder and confusion.
Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.

Seems much more like the latter to me, Guy.

Guy, I was one of the people who shared reservations. It was a little surprising to hear you asking paparazzi -- who hide outside of celebrities homes and speed after them in cars -- for help to launch a website. It's not a bad idea; it is just not clear how it changes the world, which is the title of this blog. If I could see how more paparazzi and rumors in the world did so, then I may think otherwise.

But people respond to information they are given. If I posted on starting a website and said, "If you are a young teenage girl who likes to share nude photos of yourself, contact me," then say to others who share reservations, "don't pre-judge!" it is like saying, "don't respond to the information I give you." But people do.

People receive information and respond to it, simple. Otherwise, you can say, "It is just the first version of the website, don't pre-judge it," or "It is just the second version of the website, don't pre-judge it," and on and on.

While getting young photos of girls is not the same as engaging celebrity-stalking paparazzi, still for me the issue of involving paparazzi while trying to change the world was a hard one to blend. And people are going to respond to what information they are given, some of course more thoughtfully than others, but responses based on that information will come.

Odd, my mother always told me "If you don't want to waste your time jumping from page to page, get yourself a good RSS reader." Well, actually, she told me to eat my vegetables but I'd like to think this is what she would tell me if she knew what an RSS feed was.



I think my mother knew your mother. :-)


Ok, I really believe it (lesson1). There is no secret here (lesson2). Just give it a try! (lesson3)

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Great post.

But, I'm pretty sure that for each of the successful examples you gave there would be 10 which are not. And for many reasons, for sure. Running blindly into the fire is not always a good idea and, as some people noted, getting feedback as early as possible is key. So, after how much negative feedback should you start questioning yourself? Never? Does this mean every idea can succeed with the right execution and marketing?

The way things seem to be going in your life Guy I wouldn't be surprised if you had to hire a mail attendant to manage your mail (both physical and virtual!).

Entrepreneurs are mavericks, they create chaos out of stability then the successful ones are able to re-mold things to their benefit.

I guess a jump from VC to Entrepreneur isn't that big a leap - look forward to seeing what else you come up with in the future!

Founder of myfoodcount.com, i3ds.com and artist @ stinkyandsticky.com

This is awsome, thanks for all the wisdom.

Your idea will work beautifully! I attribute the negative oriented comments to the fact that people don’t admit they rely on rumors (even though they are) same as they deny they are influenced by advertisement. The power of rumors is huge. I hope people will not abuse it. good luck!

Great post (again).

I suspect what you're really seeing is a Western (Anglo-Saxon, anyways) taboo on social interaction in play. Rumour and gossip are neither "manly" nor "controllable" (if you're into control). We much prefer the orderly, objective and controllable thought of fact and data-transmission, don't we? Because that's how the world really is...ISN"T IT?

Have been wracking my brain to think of a suitable example - maybe music/entertainment might be a fertile ground.

Anyway looking forward to hearing you speak in HK this afternoon.

Where's the value in rumours? That value is truth itself: a Stanford study a few years back found that 86% of what we'd classify as gossip is factually true. Being at the head of an information stream like that is not insignificant.

And Guy? That HBO snippet I posted on Truemors I got from Defamer, one of those horrid gossip sites!

Rock star! I love this article as you know. It's so true.

Being an entrepreneur means risking all your money to do something you truly love and believe in. It is all about passion and a sense of purpose.

Guy, I first read about Truemors a day after watching one of your videos in which you preached that startup ideas must have meaning. I took this to mean that a business idea must serve a really meaningful purpose, so I must admit that I was a little surprised to read about Truemors and thought where is the deep meaning in gossip! But then I thought, let's wait and see - there may well be more to it. So is there Guy? By the way, I am also working on an idea that I think some people might initially react negatively too, but as you say - I am going for it all the same.


People somehow think that rumors are evil. I don't. There are good ones and bad ones, true ones and untrue ones.

Here's the meaning: Truemors is one more step in the democratization of information. It started with royalty and religious leaders and their scribes. Then there were printing presses--eg, for the Bible. Then desktop publishing. Then web sites. Then blogs.

More and more, one needs less and less to tell the world something. Truemors takes it another step. You don't have to create a web site or a blog--eg, what if you only have a few tidbits every once in a while? You can't maintain a site or blog for this.

Now there's Truemors. At a minimum, you just need a phone to leave a voicemail or send a text message and you can tell the world. How cool is that? That's the meaning of Truemors: power to the people.


Very good examples. It's a matter of trust to allow one's first reaction to be positive, rather than negative. I am training myself to say "they thought that was worth doing, so I'd better try it before I condemn it." This has been an interesting way to try many new products and select the ones that I really like. Saying something sucks just robs you of the opportunity.

Awesome! Yet one more reminder why I read this blog.

Thanks Guy!


Amen to that Guy. Best of luck with the new venture.

One of the many things I've gained from doing my own startup is the (obvious) realization that to be an entrepreneur, you have to have some serious cojones (in the figurative sense, of course, women can have cojones too). And ain't nobody can take that away from you. Nobody.

I've got nothing but the utmost respect for the folks out there that are willing to give their ideas/dreams a go.

And regardless of the outcome, you'll come away from the experience wiser, smarter and happier than the sad sacks who sitting in the peanut gallery sniping at the folks who put their necks and reputations on the line trying to _do_ something.

Good post Guy, and good luck on your new venture.

Sorry, still sounds like a lame idea :-)

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