Leave your Ego at the Door

Jiujitsu clubs have a motto – “Leave your ego at the door”. When you walk onto the mat, you’re going to meet people of different sizes, speeds, and skill levels who in one way or another are going to kick your ass. You approach each fight differently, and with a large amount of humility or else you’re going to end up frustrated at best, and just plain broken at worst. The goal is to learn what works in each different situation and ignore what doesn’t. In Jiujitsu, if you hold on to an idea too long you get choked out, or get your arm snapped.

Business and Ego

In a company, people have ego attachment to different areas of the business. You might love the grand vision, the content team might love the type of data they’re creating, marketing might be really proud of their positioning strategy, and the development team is smitten with the fantastic technical solution they’ve created. None of this matters if there’s no customer who also loves it and is willing to pay for it. On the road to developing a successful business, every part of the business can do what they’re told and the system as a whole will still be a complete failure.

Lean Philosophy

The Lean Startup philosophy is designed to minimize this ego involvement. You validate with the customer that you understand their problem. You validate that they think your solution is the answer. You measure that they’re actually using it the way they said they would. You constantly test and tweak, and abandon that which doesn’t work even if you’ve poured your heart into it.  Gradually from the shattered remains of your ego, you have something that people love. You just have to learn to let go.

One thought on “Leave your Ego at the Door

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I would only add that the lean startup approach isn’t about fighting your ego or being wrong but accepting the fact that you rarely have enough information about pretty much anything (your market, your customers, your usage, your user experience, your prices, etc.).

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