Ditch self-promotion for humility and your startup could thrive

Entrepreneurs are constantly told the importance of confidence and assertiveness, but one venture capitalist has driven home the value of humility for building strong companies and better teams.

Venture capitalist and founder of web curation startup Snipit, Ramy Adeeb, has written a plea to company founders on Medium, asking that they think of themselves less often, rather than feeling the temptation to promote themselves and their achievements ad nauseam.

Adeeb says he’s met founders who have insisted on boasting about their businesses “killing it” and speaking at length about their own success rather than their team’s, but these entrepreneurs tend to go out of business pretty quickly.

On the flipside, those who’ve focused on their communities, rather than growth targets, prospered.

“I remember listening to Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest, pitch the company in 2011 when it had five employees and millions of users. He never bragged about the rapid growth they were going through. He genuinely was concerned about the impact of scale on the community (and on the servers),” Adeeb writes.

“His humility served him well.”

Practicing being humble is all the more important because — unless you are a one-in-a-million entrepreneur success story like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg — you are going to be faced with massive stumbling blocks and smaller successes, Adeeb says.

If you remain grounded throughout the entire startup process, you’re more likely to “ensure your team and your investors follow you when times are tough as they did when times were good”, he writes.

Becoming humble, however, is not something that happens overnight; it’s a constant stream of actions and decisions, says Adeeb.

“It’s something you practice. So in the middle of reading all the blog posts about self-discovery and self-improvement and self-help, try to replace your self-awareness with self-control,” he says.

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