Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Niceness as a competitive advantage

I was at a startup pitch event recently. The format was typical American Idol. The judges - typically VCs or angel investors - gave frank, honest comments which would be super useful for the Entrepreneurs. Everyone was happy.

But there was one VC who was nice. And not just nice - super nice. Even when the Entrepreneur was not up to the mark, he offered words of encouragement. And gave constructive criticism in a nice way. He seemed to realize that this work means a lot for the Entrepreneur, and must be appreciated, even if it is not ready for primetime yet.

Keep in mind that the nice VC did not hold back on criticism at all - far from it. He just expressed it in a kind, sympathetic manner.

I think this niceness is a competitive advantage in today's world; people who were watching the interaction will probably go to the nice VC first. And when an invest-able deal comes around, the Entrepreneur will likely pick him (if there are multiple choices) - because the VC will be great to work with.

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