“So that you can be better out there. So that you can learn from it”. See these three dapper gentleman below? They made it their duty and obligation to let us pithy grad students know that there would be no warm, fuzzy feedback in the HiTEC Entrepreneurship Program at NCSU.
The spiel went something like this…
Do not make a compliment sandwich [here’s what’s good-here’s what’s bad-and one more good thing]. Just tell them why it sucked and what they can do to improve it. Don’t be nice. Be honest about what you really thought. Once you leave the safety nest and the tree of trust, no one will ever tell what you did wrong. They’ll just stop answering your calls and emails. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a “No”. Consider it 1 in 1,000 if someone actually tells you why you blew it.
During our first class presentation, I rambled and babbled incoherently for about 60 seconds before I was politely instructed to return to my chair. The professor kindly asked if any other team members would like a shot. Jonathan hops up and proceeds to ramble and babble. Dr. Baker, the handsome fella on the left in the picture above, saunters to the front of the class. Jonathan, still rambling and mystified, asks if he should stop. “No. Keep going. You’re doing GREAT” comes the response. Within seconds our professor grabs his pen, mockingly stabs himself in the heart, and falls to the floor, faking his own death. Rising, he asks “Now, who wants to tell me what they did wrong?”.
We never came unprepared again. I’ll never forget that. Those were definitely some of the best “jerks” I learned from. Find yourself someone who can shoot it to you straight.