Talk Is Cheap. So Is Advice.
Talk is cheap. And so is advice.
Especially “proxy advice” – where it isn’t from real-life experience, but from third-party sources.
I know a very convincing few that are very skillful at making proxy advice sound like their very own.
While the experienced ones will be able to tell immediately (and politely eject themselves), I think it’s irresponsible to spout such advice to the rookies, the eager-to-learn, the impressionable.
When I was getting my first tech startup off the ground, I was VERY green. So I actively sought advice from others – founders, investors, developers, accelerator mentors, growth teams, etc.
All I ended up with was whiplash and confusion. Conflicting advice, proxy advice and very few stories about experiences – all the while, feeling like I had to heed all of it.
These days – I’ll take stories about experiences and actionable tactics over any advice.
And in turn, when others reach out for help – I try to provide them with the same. Zero advice. Only a story about an experience, or something actionable (that I’ve actually tested or used myself) based on their situation.
And if I don’t have any answers or experience – then that’s exactly what I say. “I don’t know”. Because saying anything else will be irresponsible and will not help them one bit.
If you’re in the fortunate position to have others come to you for advice – let’s make sure to give value and clarity, and not add to the confusion.
The people you’ve helped will thank you for it – for years to come.