How acting dumb got people to respect us
Stereotypes are everywhere and funnily enough, they are usually being said by those you thought would have known better, probably because of the environment they were raised in, the universities they attended or the workplaces they were part of, where gender equality was very much present. However, it took us to start a startup to realise that people’s perceptions quite often result in creating their reality which in a lot of cases affects ours. So understanding that controlling and ultimately changing a situation begins with changing your thoughts followed by your actions, we didn’t change the game but definitely adjusted the players (us if you didn’t get it).
Therefore, while lots of females would disagree and perhaps even disrespect our new strategy, we knew that operating under the radar would result in the biggest success of all — The element of surprise.
You see, it’s human’s nature to judge and categorise people according to already built in stereotypes where men often perceive women as fragile and less capable creatures and women believe they are the chosen race and can perform any task way better than any alpha male can. We on the other hand had to learn it the hard way.
So, the following strategy resulted in a lot of surprised looks, open mouths and zero comments. (Just the way we like it!). It may be in contrary to what you’ve been taught in business school or what you’ve heard from experienced entrepreneurs but in our case it actually worked! So this is what we mean. Sometimes over talking about your idea and trying to sell it to everyone who’s willing to listen results in the opposite effect of what you were trying to achieve in the first place. You see, people are the most judgmental, ego-driven creatures currently living on this planet (at least until NASA proves otherwise) and therefore, trying to sell them or even just share with them your amazing vision makes them look down at you and give you the most judgmental look as if you’ve just asked them to draw $1m dollars from their savings account and give it to you kind of look. Trust us when we say that everyone who’s ever shared their idea with someone who isn’t Elon Musk or Jack Dorsey would get it and totally relate. Thus, having realised that people are assholes (just kidding or are we?) we decided to keep our mouth shut which for us girls was even harder than launching the startup.
During this quite period every once in a while people asked questions about our progress, not necessarily out of interest but more to strengthen their point of which we cannot pull it off and we don’t fully know what we’re doing. And although this was hard and our inner divas screamed inside, we decided to let them finish what they had to say (not like what Kanye did to Taylor) but more like giving them the benefit of the doubt that we care about their opinion of both us and our idea. And just to clarify, this is not TechCrunch, we are not trying to change the world, coz if we did, we would have gone to some sort of pageant competition. And trust us, we would have nailed it too.
And then was the day in which we launched the startup (affixx.co check it out and if you’re a student upload a paper too). When people realised that the worst has happened and we actually made it live, they honestly didn’t know how to react let alone what to say. You see, when you act as a dumb fox, the last thing people expect from you is to actually succeed and pull things off. They underestimate you and this is exactly where you wanna be. YES YES!!! You heard us right. This is the best position to be in as you hold all the cards. If you fail (which is subjective anyway) it’s ok because everyone expected this to happen, however if you succeed, you prove them wrong, you gain confidence and they learn to respect you and start taking you seriously. So for us, operating under the radar and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt that we care of they have to say played in our favour and most importantly, got people to respect us.
So the lesson is Act Dumb, Stay Foolish and you’ll always end up on top!