My name is Jean-loup Karst. I am working at PAYMILL as a Business Developer in Paris. Et Paris, c’est très joli.

“You should leave. You can’t work in a startup. Leave and learn from your mistakes.”

Boom. 11am that day. Back in 2011. I was sitting at my desk in the co-working space, facing the CPO. Still remember my initial thoughts: “Hey, it’s not my mistake if customers don’t like our product! And you have the emotional intelligence of a spoon when rudely criticizing everything I deliver. I know I’m right!”

And here we are. The cause of the problem: “I know I’m right.”

It took me some time to figure this out. The ego problem. In other words, taking things personally. Seeing rooms for improvement as personal critique. Thinking of someone’s doubt over your project as a questioning of your overall performance.

No. In any startup or company, there is no space for ego. When speed of execution matters most, ego is a productivity killer. You can’t waste your time because of it. Critique is good. Reward it. Encourage people around you to push you forward. Accept you are wrong. Accept you are vulnerable. It will be your strength. Focus on what you deliver. Ask for people’s opinions. Listen to them. Deliver. Learn. Repeat.

Every day at PAYMILL, I go to the office after leaving my ego at home. And I am always excited and fulfilled to go to work because I can see people I interact with do the same. Of course, sometimes, your ego rings the bell and tries to influence your thoughts. Fortunately, you’re experienced enough to say no. And lock it.

In any startup or company, neither you, nor your colleagues, nor your investors, nor your boss, is right.

Only one person is right. Your customer. Get things done.

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