A word from a CEO #32

Pride is a killer

A few years ago Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, told me that when he interviews someone and they immediately tell him how much experience they have, he hears “I don’t want to learn.”

This might seem harsh, but he had the evidence to back it up. He’d hired those people and they didn’t produce the results they said they would. Instead, it was the people he took a chance on — those without experience — who grew with the company, learned with the company and ultimately provided the most value.

And when you’re creating a category — like he did with Zoom, and like we did at Drift, you need to bet on the people who are willing to learn.

You’ve heard me talk about learning from books, role models and mentors. But there’s another aspect to learning — learning from feedback.

And while people say they want and are open to feedback, most of the time they actually don’t…and aren’t. Why? Because that feedback hurts their pride — and so they put up walls and don’t listen.

But here’s the thing. Pride is a killer. And if you’re not willing to let go of your pride, and really listen to the feedback you’re getting, it will catch up with you down the line. I wish someone had told me that years ago because it would have saved me a lot of pain.

So the next time someone offers you feedback, put aside your pride and really listen. And remember — it’s not about the number of years you’ve been doing something — it’s about putting in the reps and sets — and training every day.

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