Experts, experts everywhere

Disclaimer: I’m not a self-proclaimed guru or the next Steve Jobs. Read and take advice at your own risk.

Being in a startup is hard sometimes. What makes it especially hard is not the hours. It’s not the daily uncertainties or the search for a solid business model. It’s the constant stream of contradictory advice, and my head’s spinning figuring out who’s a wolf and who’s a sheep.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s my own god damn responsibility to consider and act on what I’m given. And most people we meet have the best agendas, myself and my startup would be nowhere without them — I’m forever grateful.

It’s just a few things that’s been “grinding my gears” lately:

1. Titles

Everyone’s an “entrepreneur” or “social media expert”. Some terms are so overused they’ve become useless. I remember I put “entrepreneur” in my title before I even created as much as a fart into the stratosphere. No, I’m an “aspiring entrepreneur”, I’ve created jack shit so far. I think that if I’m actually honest about my background and experience and not selling my “personal brand”, people might be able to understand my input better, and it might actually be helpful:

A: “You know what, I’ve got a degree on this stuff, and I would 100% invest in Yahoo, they’ll bounce back no problem mate. Thank me later.”


B: “Look, I think X, Y and Z is important here, but I’m not 100% sure. You would perhaps want to talk to Anna at IT, she’s better with this stuff.”

See the difference?

2. Personal branding

Look — I do appreciate the importance and value of a strong personal brand. In fact, I’m slowly building it up by writing here. My problem is that some people will just do about anything to improve their “brand” before they put in any hard work and improve themselves.

I will quit your new Facebook Live show if:

A: you can’t back up your knowledge somehow
B: you’re not hilarious

Put in the hours, go to a conference, read a book on a subject you like — go find what you’re passionate about and your brand will build itself. 
You’re you, you will sell better as you, not as the wannabe Gary Vee.

It’s sometimes hard to be a small fly in a big world, and so, I’m not saying we all need years of experience and MBAs on our backs to help each other out. Quite the opposite. What I want to encourage is for people to take away their self-interest when giving advice, because next time, it might be you that’s wandered off the trail asking for help. Maybe, we’ll give each other better advice next time.