Kurvv Blog

3 types of Dangerous Advice

Aug 27, 2021 1:58:24 PM / by Ryan Lee

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash 


TL;DR There are 3 kinds of advice that can be dangerous and needs extra care when considering. Logical advice, indirect advice and direct advice. What makes them so potentially dangerous is that they are easily disguised as great advice when in fact they are not.


Unlike all other resources needed by a startup, there is one resource that you have too much of- ADVICE. Solicited and unsolicited, from 'Friends/ family' and "gurus", logically sound and counter intuitive (these are the best ones by the way), direct from experience vs 'my friend told me...'. Hidden underneath the mountain of advice there are the few that you should really take to heart.

Among the various of advice I found 3 to be the most deceiving and/or dangerous because they can come disguised as seemingly "really great advice". But note that I mean they should be more carefully considered rather then that they are necessarily bad.

  1. Logical advice : These are advice that have been derived by the 'advisor' through logic and seem like sound advice due to how logical they are. The advice can be explained by a (intuitive) logical flow that seems to make sense and, moreover, in some context the advice does hold true. A great example is 'patents'. Common sense wisdom says that you need to legally project your idea so that others don't copy it. "You need to patent your idea. What's stopping anyone from just copying you if you don't?". Not so great advice that is sound advice in limited context.

  2. Indirect Experience Advice : These are advice that comes from 'advisors' who have not learned from direct experience but by observing others who have. This can be so much more dangerous because it easily comes across as advice based on direct experience unless explicitly stated. "You need to have a product in the market to receive institutional investment (because that is what my friend who became a zillionare did)".

  3. Direct Experience Advice : The best sort of advice but all so dangerous because it can be the best advice. People, and even great entrepreneurs, tend to generalize. "I did this and that happened. But I saw others do this and that happened to them as well". I'll just say CONTEXT is super important, when getting direct experience advice, you need to fully consider it's context to judge if it applies to you. "Don't think about culture, the highest priority in hiring early on is a candidate's experience and the only thing that matters is whether or not they can deliver on their commitments" - Founder with a successful exit. I personally have found this to be horrible advice the hard way. Cultural fit is as important as delivering on their commitments if not more.

Bottom line : when getting advice probe a bit deeper into the advice. Where does the advice come from? Logic? Indirect or direct Experience? If its direct experience, what is the context of the experience? Does it apply to my context? If not, is there part of the advice that I CAN take away?

Tags: startup

Ryan Lee

Written by Ryan Lee