Whom do I listen to? A CEO’s dilemma

Whom do I listen to? A CEO’s dilemma

Let us take cricket as an example. I open the innings. And I want to improve. Whom do I listen to? My captain, my coach, my team mates, the commentators, the journos or the fans?

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has at least two!

At the end, I need to face the bowler and each stroke is decided in tenth of a second, and executed. That decision is my own and comes from my sub-conscious, trained for days at the practice-nets. And when I am confident, it just flows!

As an entrepreneur, it’s a similar dilemma.

Tons of questions in my head. On my business, strategy, HR, etc. Whom do I talk to?

Whom do I listen to?

  1. Friends:

OK, if you are looking for succor and empathy. But biz advice?

Karthik Reddy from Blume Ventures mentioned this earlier at a SaasX round table meet: Paraphrasing: “If 8 out of 10 of your ‘friends’ are excited about your biz idea, you probably are in the wrong direction”.

This comment could be up for debate but definitely has merit!

  1. Another entrepreneur:

A good choice but you need to map out the experience and life-cycle of the entrepreneur and his/her business. As Girish Mathrubootham from Freshdesk commented:

Entrepreneurs will give different views/opinions as their experience and situations are almost always different”.

A case in point: If you are a B2C business and seek advice from a B2B entreprise-based entrepreneur, the approach strategies will be different – and may not be directly applicable.

  1. A BTDT guy/gal:

“Been there Done that”, in a similar category or biz-space. This could be a good fit, as a mid to long-term mentor or a one coffee-date advisor. And I love this kind of dating 🙂

And in this quest, I’d rather talk to someone who says my idea is crap (and then justifies it with logic/data).

  1. Yourself

In our quest for “external appeasement”, we need to remember to listen to ourself.

* What is it that “I” want to do?

* Is there an “Aspiration to Activation” gap? How can I fill the gap?

* Who can help me fill the gap/learning?

* So, whom do I listen to?

I will ‘hear’ most of the above and ‘listen’ to the ones that understand the direction of my business idea/model.


Pravin Shekar is a startup specialist, parallel entrepreneur and motivator. www.pravinshekar.com provides additional info.

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