Below the Line with James Beshara on Smash Notes

#3 — Eric Ries — Psychological Journey

Below the Line with James Beshara

Eric Ries, New York Times best-selling author and CEO/Co-Founder of one of the most ambitious ideas on the planet right now (Long Term Stock Exchange) talks about the movement he started with his best-seller The Lean Startup and why the narratives need to change when it comes to building companies. He also shares his personal approach to starting companies now that he's 20 years into it, how to receive feedback, and how weak points can be hidden strengths if you detach from the story of how things should be going in your head. 
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Episode notes last updated on June 19, 2019 16:55

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Smash Notes summary for this episode

From a founder’s perspective, what are some of Eric Ries’ favorite things about being a founder?

Enjoy is not the word that comes to mind, but it’s something that he feels that he is called to do that's like a desire to make a change in the world. It's powerful, exhilarating, and equally rewarding.

What are some misleading things about being a founder that movies depict?

One deception is that the founding process is smooth and fluid. The company hardships and processes are glossed over to where the success is displayed, not the years prior that built the succes.

Why do beginner founders not ask for help?

It’s called toxic founder image, which people try to maintain. This prevents people from seeking help because it’s viewed as a sign of weakness. It’s a game that investors play that if you them ask for help, it means that you don’t know what you are doing; yet, they want you to ask them for help. In the end, everyone begins comparing and competing.

How long does it actually take for people that seem to have overnight success?

It actually takes about 10 years in the making for success. The press recently finds out about it once a company is successful. The founder and team have been working below the surface for a long time prior to public knowledge.

What are some things that Eric has personally adopted to find a balance between enthusiasm and cynicism?

Equanimity is his go-to for all things entrepreneurship. For him, in order to survive as a founder, you have to practice some form of non-attachment.

How is founder mentality powerful?

It may not be enjoyable, but it is powerful. Founder mentality interacts with human psychology in a positive way if you can harness it. When experiencing and feeling a present moment, you are more aware of the situation and how to better apply what you’ve learned for future obstacles and apply it.

What other power things that Eric has adopted over the years?

He approaches things as a survival strategy. Also what he's noticed is when someone gives you feedback, they are talking about themselves, not about you personally. You decide what to do with the information they've given you.

What is the fundamental attribution error?

We have a human cognitive bias. So when someone else does something, it’s due to their fundamental attributes, not circumstance. Yet if we do something, it’s because of our circumstances.

How are arbitrary deadlines harmful?

They are harmful because they betray trust between you and your team. You have to be honest about why the deadline matters and why you care in order to build stronger trust. If you have the choice between a decision and time, choose time.

Why are early adopters of products so important to a company?

You cannot be an early adopter if a product is flawless and polished. They can go from your most fierce critics to your most passionate defenders. Some feel as if they have ownership of your product— like they built it— while your company is the handyman doing their work.