I have written a little about startups on the financing side, but have not talked much about the emotions of startups. I'm reserving a lot of thoughts until they "cook a little". One of the topics that has cooked for a while, is the idea of "appropriate response".
When you start a new company, especially one with lofty goals, in an area with few comps, you can expect "few people to get it" right out of the gate. Friends and family will generally support you and give you the response they feel is appropriate – for the relationship. If it's your first time at bat they smile a lot, perhaps trying to lightly talk you out of it. You learn to roll with it, it's all part of the gig.
These are all good people, and they are NOT what I'm talking about.
What I am talking about are 'experts' in your space. Sometimes these are Venture Capital guys, sometimes they are analysts, and sometimes they are other entrepreneurs that have done stuff adjacent to what you are doing.
All these guys will have an opinion, and you as an entrepreneur should absolutely listen to them. Many will give you valuable information, and in your career you will return again and again to them. Some are a little less valuable and you will question their motivations. Ask yourself, are you getting an appropriate response to the stage of your company or idea.
Great advisors, regardless of who they are – are people that recognize that in the first month of your company "you are still figuring everything out". Input is good, suggestions good – telling you you're an idiot is unproductive. In the eighth month of your company, you know more and should have more answers; you should know your market better. At that point the questions and opinions should be stronger and you as an entrepreneur should be able to joust at that level. In the 25th month of your company – bring it. As an entrepreneur you should be able to take a full frontal assault – you know more. You have to know more. I have been very fortunate that advisors close to me have been very helpful and have exhibited (and taught me) the concept of "appropriate response".
However, like every other entrepreneur that has walked this road, I have had my share of inappropriate response. Inappropriate response is when someone who does not receive the entire story (because of your inability to tell it early on) makes a unilateral decision that your idea is dumb and you are an idiot. In your quest to start you company, you will meet these people – and likely – you will never forget them.
Having walked in the Lijit shoes for over 2 years now, I have a list of a couple of these guys. One, I lovingly refer to as "The Troll". He is a smart guy and most definitely an ego maniac. He absolutely tried to crush our ideas and dreams in the first 10 minutes (publicly) of our company. Recently he published a post that absolutely and perfectly describes why the Lijit concept is super valuable.
Although we quickly recovered he emotionally wasted a month, a critical month, of Lijit's time way back when "believing" was the most important thing..
These guys will try to take you down, they don't know you, and they won't even remember doing it.
Don't let them, they are micro important.