The Non-Decision makers

The Non-Decision makers

Superfeedr is a very exciting venture. Yet, I am incredibly frustrated when I am waiting for someone else to make a decision, answer an email or write some code. You know who they are : these partners, customers, providers, lawyers, venture capitalists, etc… all these people you deal with and who take forever to make a decision. I claim they are the worst ennemies for entrepreneurs.

They don’t want to make decisions

And they’re right. They’re not the ones taking risks. VCs don’t want to be wrong, so they’d rather say maybe, later, not sure yet, I need to chat with my partners, when you have revenues… than anything that would look like a commitment. Customers also don’t want to make a decision, because they don’t want to show you that you have a bargaining power, so they will keep you waiting. Even journalists don’t want to make a decision : they want to talk about what everybody else will talk. The problem is : they sometime have a hard time predicting that, so they’d rather wait for a few hints before going out with your story.

Why no is better than maybe

In France, there is a saying that states that “as long as there is life, there is hope”. I’d claim that more than hope, I want certitudes. Entreprendre is all about making an assumption and test-proving it, making another one and test-proving it, making a third one and test-proving it. I say “test-proof” and not “proof”, because in the end, it doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong. What matters is that, after the process, you know and you have less and less assumptions to make.

When somebody says “maybe”, “later”, “we’ll do it”… you don’t learn anything, because that doesn’t prove anything. When they say “No”, you know something.

A few tips

As an entrepreneur, you should always make decisions. The Dalaï Lama said : “When you lose, don’t loose the lesson”. The only thing an entrepreneur can lose, is actually the lesson. Make as many decisions as you want, and keep proving them right or wrong. If you wonder if A or B is better, don’t think too much : try, you’ll know.

You can spot non-decision makers pretty easily : they don’t answer your emails (or at least, not right away), they never commit to anything (even the smallest things), they keep using the future when they speak/write. One you spotted one, avoid him at any cost. It doesn’t matter how hard you will try, they will not help you. I wrote code, prepared scripts, documentation, how-tos… etc. If somebody isn’t making the decision to use your app, all this is useless.

On the other hand, every-time you meet anyone who is making even the slightest decisions about your product (like tweeting about it, registering, sending you an email… anything), you have to be very very responsive. Not only they will be great advocates, but since they make decisions, they will help you learn much faster and understand things that would have taken years for you to grasp. You almost have to scare them with your dedication!

Liked this post? Read the archive or

Previously, on the Superfeedr blog: Posterous supports PubSubHubbub.