Phone calls, coffees and meetings, oh my!


Scared to talk to someone you don’t know? Why? What could happen? Listen, I get what the fear of rejection is all about. I spent the first part of my career in sales and like countless other salespeople, I became a magical excuse machine for all the calls I did not make. We’re social animals; 40,000 years ago, strangers could kill you. So could your tribe rejecting you.


But we don’t live 40,000 years ago. Today, solutions are built on radical collaboration. The faster you gain empathy, insight, perspective, knowledge and help from other people, the faster you succeed. When I did that in sales, everything changed. So too with startups. The best big ideas are never (never EVER) born or perfected in a vacuum. That’s why lean startup and design thinking principles start with asking questions. Not building (and certainly not perfecting) a big fancy solution.


Ask people who have been there before to critique your work. Ask potential users to evaluate your new idea. Ask people with bigger networks for new introductions. Countless groups of like-minded people are already out there, waiting to welcome you in, and offer the help you’re scared to ask for.


I’m not saying having coffee with a stranger will change everything. I’m saying that staying home will change nothing.