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Be Humble Or Fail

November 3, 2020
Strategic Reflection

There are many anecdotes in the tech world about superhuman founders that decide everything from design to product, from sales to marketing. These stories usually focus on the glitz rather than the substance and forget to call out one crucial aspect: successful products tend to be built around people with humbleness as a core value.

I am not talking about underestimating their skills or value as professionals. I'm referring to their capacity to admit that people other than them might have a better solution to a problem or that a competitor's product might be better. Again, being humble doesn't mean stepping aside when you believe in something. Simply put, it's about entertaining the idea that you might be wrong.

If you think about it, it's quite logical the more you are clouded by pride, the less likely you are to notice and acknowledge the inherent mistakes you are making along the way. I understand that sometimes people are like this because of their emotional investment, but that's not an excuse.People like to feel that they are right as well, naturally, some more than others. Still, when building a product, it's no longer about a single person. Instead, it's about the greater goal: creating meaningful experiences that bring value to users.

Some would say that this "humility" is incompatible with innovation. On the contrary, the more humble you are, the better you will be at spotting flaws and qualities in your ideas, simply because your eyes will be wide open to everything that happens around you: competitors, technologies, users, and other variables in the success equation. The total opposite of this is focusing on yourself, self-praise, and living with the complacency that comes along with that.

Years ago, I learned that I could create better product experiences by continually evaluating their quality, either by questioning it myself or being 100% open to receiving suggestions, ideas, or simply listening to other peoples' opinions. All of this, while being very passionate about standing for the things I believe in.

If you're a founder, product manager, developer, or designer, and want to always have the capacity and thirst to get better, be humble.

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