Startup Tip: Ignore Haters But Listen To Critics

It’s very important for startups to understand the difference between haters and critics. Haters will hate you personally, will have your business model, and will hate your business. They’ll say negative things regardless of what you do or say.

Ignore the haters – they live in a small echo chamber, provide no value to you or your business, and are merely a distraction. On the other hand, you should listen carefully to critics – people that offer meaningful advice about ways you can improve your company’s product or service. To learn more, watch this 3 minute video.

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  1. Ross,

    Yes, it is important to distinguish the two. When the criticism is particularly harsh, I think it’s best to stop and think through your reply rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.

    Easier said than done…

    Nice post.


  2. Great post Ross.
    I think this is one of the toughest but most important subjects for all business owners to deal with. In order to become a great business you must listen to your customer’s feedback whether its good or bad and use that feedback as a means to continuously improve your business. However, like you said, there are many out there that love to be critical and hateful just for their own sake. I think a lot of times haters don’t realize that its a real person on the other end of the line an not just some big company. If you can understand this from the hater’s point of view then it can help to minimize it while capturing value from it if there is any.

  3. Audree – very true. Some reflection is always good. Importantly, it’s not critical that you reply to everyone. That’s the difference between engaging critics – people who are trying to help – and haters (those who simply don’t care). Replying to haters is a waste of time.

    Scott – Absolutely true. I would also add that haters are very rarely your customers (or even potential customers). Listening to customers is one thing (and some can be harsh critics). But understand who is/isn’t a potential customer is quite another. Too many companies get sidetracked by engaging people who not only will never become customers, but who don’t care about the products/services.

  4. Wow! This couldn’t have been sent to me at a better time! My husband just told me yesterday that I need to get a thicker backbone and get over the haters. I heard about some negative comments made by a customer who purchased photos from me. I was hurt and immediately wanted to send her check back and let her know that I understand she didn’t like my work and I certainly didn’t want her to pay for something that made her unhappy. However, I then found out that she herself had tried her hand unsuccessfully at a photography business and ended up in litigation. I realized then that she was definitely just being a jealous hater.
    I particularly liked what you said about them being in a bubble. How right you are! Thanks for the tip!

  5. Melissa – very pleased that you found the video helpful. We all tend to react (and often over-react quickly) particularly when haters call us out. Learning how to control the nearly spontaneous reaction provides a big advantage and saves us from saying/doing something we’d regret later.

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