Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Say... Yes?

Saying No All the Time is for Chumps

By working on new products and working with people who are building new products you hear a ton problems/ideas a day.  These are wanted, unwanted, good, bad, awful, (say yes to oxford commas) and everything in between.  A lot of thinkers and bloggers and talking heads want you to say 'No' by default and only begrudgingly say 'Yes'.  To hell with all that garbage.  I say 'Okay' should be your modus operandi.

Now, don't get me wrong.  You can't do all the ideas you hear or have all the time.  It's impossible and stupid to try.  Finishing projects (well, at least MVP-ing them) is 100x better than starting them.  Remember our mantra: "Good now is better than perfect later."  However, stop being such a goddam naysayer.  Come up with a solution and a path for ideas rather than simply saying 'no, that's idiotic.'  This is not only for people who come to you with problems and ideas, but for your own problems.

This does a couple of things:

  1. You will start having a more open mind.
  2. People will continue to come to you with ideas and suggestions.
  3. You'll have generally a more positive outlook on things.
  4. You'll get to hear some pretty awesome ideas mixed in with all that nonsense.


A CTO has to handle a lot of ideas and suggestions, both from within the team and without.  Especially if you have a non-technical CEO.  That's just the nature of the beast.  Everyone is a critic.  I've decided today that I will never say no again.  Instead of shooting ideas down, I will either give suggestions on how to keep them going, take them into serious consideration, or, if they are truly effing terrible, try to redirect them on a better course.

What's the worst that could happen?


  1. Steve Jobs said no all the time...and look where that got him.

    1. This is going to sound awful, but that sort of thinking also led him to say no to conventional cancer treatment for several months, and in effect killed him.

  2. touche...he definitely lost in the game of life.