Where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise—“On a Distant Prospect of Eton College” by Thomas Gray

With all due respect to Thomas Gray, he missed the target when it comes to entrepreneurship: ignorance isn’t bliss, ignoring is. For example, last week I posted a “help wanted” entry soliciting “truemorists” for a site called Truemors.

In the first forty-eight hours or so there were forty-one comments on this posting. Of these responses seven (17%) condemned the idea:

  1. Did you hear that Guy is the new Perez Hilton? He must be out of his mind! Please tell me this post is a joke.

  2. Did you hear that Guy has sunk to a new low? Come on Guy… gossip is one step away from pornography.

  3. All the pitch’s you hear, and this is the kind of thing you want to attach your name and valuable reputation to…another hurtful, hateful gossip site/company?

  4. stick to tech, guy, that’s what you are. don’t cover hollywood gossip bs.

  5. I hope (think) Guy is joking. Like we really need more “gotchas” and “scooping”!! To wit…I was going to write an article about my visit(s) to Virginia Tech last week to hand out 600 “Hokie Hope” buttons to the students — the rub “the local newspaper implied that the Hokie story might be a little stale now” — amazing! Give me something fresh like Brittany rehab or anything Anna Nicole! Geeesh Guy say it ain’t so!

  6. shameless trolling. truly shameless. obvious the mentoring and art of the start mentality is falling by the wayside in one man’s quest for power (or jut technorati rankings) way to go the path of the lemming, dude yamaha

  7. I hope this is a joke?

This is fascinating. Based on an intentionally sketchy posting and without seeing how Truemors functions, 17% of the commenters got all twisted up in negatives. What do you think would have happened if founders listened to pre-release comments about selling used printers online (eBay), creating the tenth search engine (Google), building personal computers for hobbyists (Apple), enabling people to tell their friends that their cat rolled over (Twitter), or rating whether people are good looking (HotorNot)?

Truemors, and your idea, might not succeed, but if you listen to the naysayers, you won’t even try. Then, for sure you won’t succeed. The first lesson is:

If you believe in something, go for it. This is the only way to really find out. Mathematically, the naysayers are right 95% of the time, but believing you’re in the 5% is what makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurs.

By the way, 119 people responded positively to the posting too. :-) This yields the second lesson:

If you want help, ask for it. There is a cost to keeping something completely secret and trying to avoid public criticism. As my mother used to say, “If you don’t blog, you don’t get.”

The third lesson is that the best question you can ask someone who condemns something new is this:

“Have you tried it yet or are you just reacting to what you’ve heard?”

Generally, the more vehement the condemnation, the less likely the person has even tried it. I learned this when I discovered that the people who were most anti-Macintosh were the people who had never used one.

To paraphrase Mr. Spock, “Ignore long and prosper.”