The Truth God

imagesI have never been one for holding back.  I just have never operated that way.  Certainly as I have aged my ability to be perhaps a little more nuanced has set in but not always.

As an investor I always want to be supportive.  I also want to hear the bad with the good.  You have to.  Hearing the bad is never pretty.  It weighs on everyone and is rarely pleasant.  It just isn’t easy.

Oh there are the times of pure bliss.  A board meeting where everything comes together.  The team is on, the investors are on, the entrepreneur is brilliant and everything is rocketing upward.  Those are the times when you walk out of a meeting walking on air.

This past week I have had a few conversations that are tough.  One in particular where I was brutally honest about the brand, the presentation and it was really about personal style.  I have had a few of those conversations over the years.  Each time the person on the other end knows exactly what I am talking about.  At these times I consider myself the truth god.

It is important in the early stage world of investing to sometimes get a reality check.  Everything always seems rosy or at least you want them to be rosy but having someone be that bearer of truth from another perspective can actually be a breath of fresh air.

Comments (Archived):

  1. davidblerner

    bravo Joanne… sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for someone… -dave

  2. Susan Rubinsky

    Truth to Power. Love it.

  3. Cathy Gins

    A tough job Joanne, but someone’s got to do it! As an entrepreneurial creative with an idea a minute, I rely on the kindness of TRUTH GODS to keep me focused on viability. While my most successful products have been based on a personal vision with universal appeal, every now and then a good idea is just a good idea and does not warrant the expenditure of resources beyond posting it on a blog. While often painful to hear, I always prefer my truth served up sooner than later!

  4. LE

    Well first I want all the details. Details that I know that you aren’t in a position to offer..However I will say this. If everything worked well and if everything came together exactly as it should then it wouldn’t be as much fun to be in business. There would be no challenge and success wouldn’t feel as good. Unfortunately the downs are a necessary part of the process and psychological kick that you get when things go as planned.Think about it like this. You appreciate the good weather (beach or city) because not every day is good weather. You appreciate a good day skiing when the conditions are perfect because they aren’t all good ski days. You dine at restaurants and not every meal is perfect so you really get a kick out of the ones that are. And so on. Life would be boring if everything went perfectly and if every time the bat connected and there was a home run.

  5. William Mougayar

    I think I can read between your lines, but sometimes you say that and it doesn’t stick. The entrepreneur doesn’t want to hear it, or they avoid reacting like you think they would. Those are the more difficult situations, and the only hope you have is that they turn around and figure it out later, hopefully before it’s too late.

    1. Gotham Gal

      need to keep returning to the tough love and drilling down…

      1. William Mougayar

        yup…i don’t give up easily either 🙂

  6. awaldstein

    Building business is tough. And very messy for a long time.Growth without margin. Brand buzz without a channel. Just a freakin mess when you discover a book keeping hole.The more you embrace this confusion but more the ups and downs work.What doesn’t work and what is hardest is to parse out belief and fantasy cause at the beginning, there is just no difference.

    1. Gotham Gal

      for sure

  7. AMT Editorial Staff

    It’s also called being direct; and will often be misinterpreted as mean, or for a woman “bitchy.”

    1. pointsnfigures

      Yup. Or, if you are a Republican conservative in a blue state, racist….

  8. pointsnfigures

    This is a great post for a lot of reasons. Do you think Coach K at Duke isn’t honest with his McDonald’s All-Americans when they aren’t doing something right? You don’t become a great coach by not confronting the things that are going wrong. If I am critical, I try to be nice-but eventually you just have to be direct.