Should I add that feature, talk to that investor across the room, announce my startup to the world, even do a startup? More often than not the word “should” is shorthand for do I have someone’s – anyone’s – permission to do this thing therefore if it fails they to blame, not me.
Waiting for the world to tell you you have permission is like waiting to win the lottery – with lower odds. On one hand we are conditioned from grade school on we have to get the teacher’s/boss’s/spouse’s okay to do something not within the lines. On the other hand who do we actually admire? The misfits, malcontents and unmutuals who don’t ask permission, but are willing to live with the consequences.
If you are waiting for definitive, guaranteed-not-to-fail directions in life, let along building a startup, you are going to have a long, long wait.


  1. You make a very relevant point…
    Somehow, somewhere, people in the U.S. (and perhaps the world) have forgotten that our rights are not limited to what we can do. They are limited by what we *can’t* do. Case in point, laws in the U.S. do not enumerate what can be done, like carrying a weapon. Laws enumerate what can’t be done, like carrying a weapon into a government building or to a sporting event.
    When you ask yourself if you should do something, you are really asking yourself “will I get in trouble if I do it?”
    Same for software. Will my users dislike the change? Does the change violate a law (HIPAA, anyone?)? Will sales drop because of the change? Will this violate any agreements I have with vendors?

  2. Pingback: Listen to 'Permission Slip' narrated by professionals, from '47 Hats' - Hear a Blog

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