How do you treat your detractors?

I was listening to the Stanford DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership seminar with Mårten Mickos and I heard him say something interesting. And he heard it from someone else.

The 70-20-10 rule (paraphrasing): Of your customers or your constituency, 70% of them are fairly ambivalent about anything you do. 20% will love what you do. And 10% will hate it. And while the 70% don't have strong feelings about what you do with your product, they pay attention to how you treat that minority of detractors.

The implication is that if you treat your detractors with respect, the 70% will be more likely to stay with you. This sounds like a very short version of what John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead wrote about in Buy-In (my review). Rather than shooting down your detractors, be respectful and find ways to direct their criticism in the right direction. But also be careful not to let them take you down the trail into the complaint either.

Here is the podcast with Mårten Mickos: Believe in Something Bigger Than Yourself

In this lecture, Mårten Mickos shares the benefits and challenges involved in building businesses in the open source and cloud computing spaces. As the CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, Mickos identifies a vision for the future of his industry and shares entrepreneurial lessons gained from leading MySQL AB from its startup origins to becoming one of the largest open source companies in the world.

This is a fun podcast to listen to. Mickos clearly loves what he does.

1 Comment(s)

Jack,

Thanks for those comments! Glad you liked my talk.

It was Jonathan Schwartz, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, who taught me the 70-20-10 rule.

Kind regards,

Marten, mgm@iki.fi

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