Being direct is a personal trait I think I have. Yet, being direct is often received as harsh if not outright brutal, especially with less experienced discussers. Nevertheless, I do think one needs to be brutal today, not on purpose, but still.
To make myself clear, hurting the other person is never my goal, never. However I have found out that ideas should be brutally attacked. Only the very that survive deserve to go on. A part of this lesson I learned when talking to Jaka Levstek, a very dear person to me over the last 8 years. Jaka has been my partner in iTivi, one of the first if not the very first Slovenian internet startup. It is with no exageration to say that Jaka probably helped me learn more about business and especially social skills than any other person.
In terms of brutality Jaka told me how he was accepted at Cambridge, where he teaches entrepreneurship. Practically all students there are very, if not extremely competitive there. Of course, it’s one of the top schools in UK so there’s no surprise. Jaka told me that his lecturing had to withstand the onslaught of provocations, poking and otherwise challenging behaviour by the students and only when he was able to defend himself and fight back did he earn the respect and authority that he needed to survive there. It is always hardest in the beginning, but he still has to be on his toes to deliver his best. And he does, by being just as brutal to the ideas, concepts and proposals brought to him by his students and more and more also by his business peers and even clients.
In thinking about this I realised I have to do the same . It is the only honest thing to do towards people who ask me for my feedback here. Regardless of who they are they should hear my uttermost sceptisicm, my reservations, my second thoughts. If they manage to fight back, it usually strengthens the core of their idea and it also propels them to bigger speeds, more force and new heights.
And that’s why it’s worth the risk. The risk of being misunderstood as a bastard, an idiot and a heartless person. That’s not who I am, I’m just a person with no time to waste on being polite towards stupid ideas. People, on the other hands, they are the true gifts, and if you want to get along very easily with me, just bring yourself, and leave your half baked ideas at home.
Thank you very much.