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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

We live in an amazing city. But the one thing we lack is direct, in-your-face sharing of ideas and feedback. Whether it is because we don’t want to hurt each others feelings, or due to Vitamin D deficiency, I don’t know.

Either way, negative feedback that contradicts everything you know is certainly hard to come by in this town.

We all have ideas, and some of us have our delusions. We need to call them what they are and give people the feedback they need to hear, not what we think they want to hear. Inversely, we also have to be open to receiving this kind of feedback.

Case in point:

The idea that I could go from working at tech startups to running my own distillery was ludicrous. Delusional to the 10th degree. Everyone I talked to only had amazing things to say. All positive, and all wrong.

The best feedback I received was when a bar owner told me to my face that it was the stupidest idea he’d ever heard. It was like a Chuck Norris round house kick to my face. It was also, plainly, obviously true in every sense. I had no right to be doing anything like this. Why my idea was horribly stupid:

1. I had absolutely no industry knowledge
2. I certainly didn’t know anyone in the space
3. I have never even worked in a bar or restaurant
4. My last retail experience was in High School, not the most relevant to say the least
5. I have never worked at, apprenticed at, or been in another distillery

Nathan Kaiser at 2bar in SODO
Nathan Kaiser at 2bar in SODO

Needless to say, here I was raising money and talking to people about this GREAT business idea that I have. It was the person who laughed in my face that brought me back to reality and gave me the kick-in-the-ass that I needed to look at this as a REAL business.

With real world feedback I was able to start addressing each and everyone of my deficits and start building the distillery.

When someone asks you about their business, give them your unvarnished opinion, the one that could hurt their feelings.

It will be the best thing you can do for them.

Nathan Kaiser, is the founder of 2bar Spirits a craft distillery in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. He loves tech, but he loves booze even more. You can follow him @nkaiser and @2bar.

Lightbulb photo via Shutterstock.

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