#23 — Suspending Disbelief

I failed hard on my first startup. I was 26 and knew less than nothing (still true now, just different).

Back then I thought all my ideas were amazing. That was a problem. Now I’m quick to disbelieve and dismiss my new ideas. Also a problem.

Recently I’m trying to suspend disbelief. Basically, just wait to judge ideas. Pretend like anything is possible for a minute.

I first learned the phrase from David Cancel, CEO of Drift. Since then, I’ve been talking to other entrepreneurs about if, how, and when they had to suspend disbelief in their journey.

They’ve all embraced this to some extent because any creative or entrepreneurial idea will have contradictory evidence. That’s the nature of trying to be non-consensus and right

P.S. Thanks to Galen Ward for commiserating with me on this challenge.

Built in Seattle Podcast


Grant Goodale (Co-Founder & CTO at Convoy) talks about facing complexity, thinking bigger, and innovating deliberately.

On doing the job before hiring:

The biggest challenges I've seen on the hiring front have been trying to hire for a role where I have no context on what great looks like. […] I think the practice of doing [the job] for a bit and understanding what the challenges are [firsthand], and then talking to a lot of people and learning what the challenges are secondhand, really helped shape our profile.”

On deliberate innovation:

Obviously we need to innovate. We're a startup. We're trying to tackle a multi-billion dollar industry. But when and how to innovate matters because innovation is hard, it's expensive, it's risk, it's error prone. And so we don't need to innovate on every access to the business simultaneously.

On facing complexity with customers:

It's very, very rare to find complete uniformity and consistency in any business practice, across an organization of sufficient scale. And so that was a huge learning for us along the way. We need to be able to understand the intricacies of our customer's business. And in some cases, the business of our customer’s customers well enough to be able to help our customers deliver on their customer promise.

Thank you for reading! Replies always welcome. 🙏

— Adam