Week 9: Opening Up to "More Open, Smart, and Honest Criticism"

This post is the sixth in a series titled “The Chronicles of 500: Weekly Essays on What I Learned from 500 Startups.”  Andy is currently the CEO at LaunchGram.

I just read Semil Shah’s blog post on how the startup community needs “More Open, Smart, and Honest Criticism.” It really resonated with me.

We get a lot of this at 500 Startups from mentors, advisors, friends, and just about anybody, but I also know there’s a lot we don’t get. Just the other day I had a friend tell me that he wasn’t sure why he’d ever use LaunchGram. We’ve known each other for a few months, and it kind of bummed me out that he hadn’t felt comfortable enough to tell me this before, but I was grateful he had decided to come forward.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to open up LaunchGram to respectful, but open, smart, and honest criticism. Conversations between friends happen behind our backs (I’m 100% fine with this) and this is a great opportunity for people to let it loose.

CAVEAT: It’s easy to say, “That’s a dumb useless app,” but it’s hard to say, “here’s why, here’s where I think the team could drive value if they moved in a slightly different direction, and here’s how I’d be willing to help them if they did ___.”

Please either leave your criticism and feedback in the comments below, on Hacker News, or shoot me an email at [email protected] I’m looking forward to it.