StartUp Founders: Embracing Discomfort & Dissent

"Think Different." β€” Craig Tanimoto on behalf of Apple

StartUp Founders: Embracing Discomfort & Dissent

Dear Reader,

StartUp Founders that discover the power of diversity, dissent & challenge unlock innovation and growth. It comes from collision not confirmation through hidden markets, unexpected opportunities, and a tactical advantage. (𝕏 Tweet This)

Embrace diversity, not just by appearance, but also how we think and create. Hire the rule-breakers, the mavericks, the ones who make you uncomfortable, the ones who challenge you and want to rewrite the playbook. Different brains build different empires.


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It’s not just about looking for diverse or opposing opinions; it’s about rigorous testing of your ideas through questioning. The ‘why’ behind your decisions isn’t about dissent – it’s about ensuring conviction in your direction. Every idea is iterated, more robust, more thought out, more likely to achieve target IRR. A well-articulated ‘why’ is the gateway to customers, investors, recruits, co-founders and media….

Your echo chamber, where your biases are being reinforced hurts you. Diversity is hard, because it forces you to confront the contradictions, stress test your ideas and do it all in the crucible of dissent. The heretics can be so unhelpful 😁 Diversity isn’t a quota, it’s a power play.

No one is looking to dismantle your vision, rather expand it, diverse minds are the sherpas that show you growth, real growth comes from collision not confirmation, it will open you to hidden markets, unexpected connections, to forge new alliances – its just a fact:

Airbnb? Founded by a Harvard grad and a Brooklyn artist.

Netflix? A lawyer and a computer scientist.

Dollar Shave Club? A hedge fund guy and a comedian.

Canva, Glossier, SpaceX, all of them. Collisions.

Apple’s user-friendly design was inspired by Jobs’ 1972 calligraphy class with a Trappist monk “he taught me about the importance of whitespace and the subtle art of serif and sans serif.”

Whether you’re developing a niche product or scaling a mass-market SaaS, the power of diversity in thought and approach exists – whether you choose to recognize it or not.

Crave the bravery of dissent. It’s the foundation of winning against the incumbents. Bringing together diverse skills, perspectives and vision sparks innovative ideas and drives them forward with insane velocity. All without hierarchies of decision-makers and politics to quash them.

This discomfort births innovation on steroids. Fresh perspectives expose blind spots. It’s about diversity of everything, bias, journey to here, education, and experiences. We are not talking competencies (skills), those might be binary. I still expect the CTO to know CTO shit, that’s the baseline.

Need to quantify your discomfort dividend? McKinsey found diverse teams outperform by 35%. That’s cash. If I told you any other data point that could increase your out-performance by 35% you would run to it, why are you not having the same reaction to this?

Diversity doesn’t mean non-complementary. It means is that a team of A+ players, does not make an A+ team. Its the moneyball concept, everybody has to be looked at on their individual strengths but also their place in the tetris of the company. It’s not binary, it’s diverse strengths brought together that create a unified powerhouse.

Automation’s coming, it’s kinda here, and diverse minds will be the key to the AI revolution. They’ll see the blind spots and ethical landmines, they’ll build solutions to humanize the future, not just digitize it.

As a final note. This is what VC’s mean on their website when they say diverse teams. They don’t mean quota carrying, they mean real diversity.

The bravery of dissent is wild. Need to get out of your echo chamber, grab time with me.

Have a conflicting week.

β€” James (Proud Misfit)

(LinkedIn | Twitter | Tiktok)​

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