Vivek Ravisankar

Beautiful excuses

02 Feb 2017

There’s always a reason. There’s always an excuse for something to not get done. We weren’t able to raise money because the external market was bad. We couldn’t ship the product in time because an engineer fell sick or we did not have enough designers. We lost a deal to a competitor because they offered a lower price. And so on..

I call these “beautiful excuses”. They are well crafted logical excuses which makes you feel better & you move on from the problem. But 9/10 times, the real reason is different. You weren’t able to raise money because your metrics weren’t great. You lost a deal to a competitor on price because you didn’t sell value. The product wasn’t shipped on time because the planning didn’t take into account the extra buffer and so on..

Failure is okay & there’s no way around it on the path to success. But when polished with a beautiful excuse, it stunts growth. The next time you give a beautiful excuse, remember you’re not growing. And a lack of growth is bad. Conversely, identifying the right reason from first principles leads to very interesting findings.

The only caveat to this is if you didn’t care about the outcome. For e.g. if you didn’t care whether you won the deal or not, it doesn’t matter.