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I remember being at a dinner organized by a renowned fund. One of the partners launched the conversation with the tech founder guests: “The common point among the best entrepreneurs of our portfolio is that their CEOs have almost no empathy. Do you think so too?”
With that observation, the partner meant: you can’t be emotionally moved by the ups and downs of running a business AND be successful.
I doubt that his top CEOs had no empathy. But even if it was true, building a great company has nothing at all to do with being apathetic. It means that accepting our humanity while creating great companies is challenging.
In today’s entrepreneurship, caring is the point that will make or break startups.
The reasoning is pretty simple. In the Internet age, the power has shifted from the hands of a few institutions and decision makers to large crowds. So either you care for human beings or you get kicked out, sooner or later.
It’s been 8 years that “care” has been one of the core values of The Family.
“Dare, Care, Share”, that’s our motto.
- “Dare”: to choose to rebel and build ambitious companies.
- “Care”: to embark the group in that mission-driven adventure.
- “Share”: to grow collectively, by learning while transmitting the know-how to others.
In cultures where the “client is king”, caring for users is kind of inherent.
And that’s why the top customer service knowledge has been concentrated in US companies. Literature on the topic isn’t lacking. Read it, it will definitely help you drive your entire team in fighting to get a smile, to provoke a wow effect, to have memorable exchanges and contribute by taking users' feedback seriously, leading you to build truly better products.
But it doesn’t automatically apply to the rest of the world.
Behind that exceptional treatment of clients, there’s a belief system and the “survival mode”, specific to the US culture.
Let me just give you one example: if you’re European, you remember your first time at a restaurant in the US. You were amazed by the KINDNESS of the waiter. Then you discovered that tips cover most of their salary. Disillusioned, you felt a bit naive. Conversely, try Parisian waiters, where “free kindness” is (definitely) not scalable.
As a founder, you need to work on both clear incentives and an empowering culture, all centered around the interests of your users.
Yes, we need to live well. The alignment between actions and rewards is essential: being incentivized and concretely paid to care.
And yes, we need to dream big. We can be part of a group promoting a vision filled with generosity and trust. Doing it starts with you, the founder.
Caring means being present.
From putting your phone down during a conversation, to looking in the eyes of your interlocutor, to accepting criticism or saying that you’re sorry… that’s care. Deciding to set the satisfaction of users and teammates as priorities, that’s care. Working on a compelling narrative to better explain your vision of the company, that’s care.
You care because you care.
The best founders I know pay attention to their mindset and emotions. And especially since the pandemic started, they’ve been showing up. They’ve been doubling down on paying attention to others. They’ve been accepting the context as it is and using their empathy to change what they could, raising teammates’ morales. They didn’t escape others’ feelings, they connected with them.
They’re being kind for the sake of being kind.
The Family’s next startup batch will happen remotely starting in January! If you’re an entrepreneur willing to grow your startup in the best conditions, apply here. Get ready for an intense 6-week program: getting smart advice, accessing top operators and fundraising with the best investors.