This is totally true:
The rapid expansion of the early startup funding ecosystem has changed this dynamic. There are now hundreds, probably thousands, of people with at least some experience in startups. Most of these people are willing to help/advise some number of the people who ask. This is a blessing and a curse.
There’s a lot of advice for everything out there, not just startups. It’s always been this way… except that it hasn’t always been easily accessible – we can thank the internet’s revolution in that department making digital publishing and syndication as easy as a few clicks.
So, when it comes to startups, one must realize that most advice is incomplete… if not entirely bad as no advisor, however smart they might be, can possibly know what’s really going on and all of the context required to understand the issues that arise:
Understanding this means accepting the fact that, in all likelihood, any decision that you make as a founder, no matter how well advised, will likely be at least a little, if not mostly wrong. This seems illogical because advisers are meant to know so many things, and we expect them to give good advice. However, no adviser can possibly understand the full context of your business, so, at best, they are able to offer general advice or frameworks for thinking through problems.
Instead, as the post suggests, choose to limit the amount of advice you get and seek and rather choose judiciously who you will ultimately listen to. The reason for this is quite simple: Listening requires the use of your time and time is the one thing that’s in serious short-supply, especially when there are 1,000 other things that have put demands on it.
I have found that much of what the post posits is true – a startup is, in many ways, alone in its great endeavor to take over the world with a lot of people who have ideas about how it should operate but only a handful of folks who are qualified to execute.
Consequently, it’s okay to ignore even the “best” advice from the “best” advisors and startup “experts” out there. In fact, if you meet someone who has the title of “startup expert” then you should run the fuck away.
But… if you’re going to have a guru… just choose one I guess… or not.
Also published on Medium.