Drop Your Ego and Improve Your Ideas

Abamath Series – This is the first in a series of blogposts by Luke Schlangen, Founder of Abamath.

If you are arrogant enough to start a business, your ego is probably over-inflated… like mine. You feel so strongly that your ideas are better than others, that you have decided to go head-to-head with other competing companies.

Naming a Company

When I purchased abamath.com, I was going to call the business “Abamath: Amazingly Better At Math”. I thought it was cute and catchy. I sent the idea to a couple friends and one suggested I name it “A Better Approach to Math.” It seemed more professional, but I really thought my idea was better. Planning to prove myself right, I polled a few other friends on which name they liked better (without telling them which one was mine).  The results were a resounding “No” to my brilliant idea.

I had spent a week trying to figure out the perfect name and my friend topped it with a 10-second suggestion! I thought I was so smart, so clever, but the results showed otherwise.

Discussions at Abamath

Discussions at Abamath

Drop The Ego

We all like to think our ideas are the best, but it’s better for your business to understand that they’re not. You may be the person that started the company, but if you have 2 bright, invested employees, your ideas will only be the best ideas one third of the time (and the odds only shrink as you grow).

It’s hard to let go of your original ideas, but if you want your company to succeed, you have to get good at being wrong.

How To Pick Up Better Ideas

I’m not simply suggesting you allow employees to come to you with their ideas. Force them to criticize your ideas and have them tell you why. Requiring confrontation is the only way to let your employees know you are sincerely looking for feedback, and that you can handle the criticism. It also helps everyone (including you) understand why these decisions are being made.

A genuine critique will invite better ideas.

“Change or die” – It’s a scary mandate, but the good news is that for a small company, flexibility is your edge. Make that your advantage, not your downfall. Recognize great ideas when you see them, and don’t cling to what you thought was best. After all, you can always take credit for recognizing a great idea.

When you think about it, I came up with “better” and “math” so the name is still half-mine, right?


Luke Schlangen is the founder and president of Abamath: A Better Approach to Math

Luke Schlangen, Founder of Abamath

Luke Schlangen, Founder of Abamath

5 thoughts on “Drop Your Ego and Improve Your Ideas

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