Last month I gave a speech about entrepreneurial attitude.

There were at least 20 entrepreneurs of all kinds in the room, from the ones who didn’t launch their firm to the ones that were on the market for a couple of years already.

After the event, I receive an email with the feedback summary from the organizers.
What do you know? Of all the 4 presenters, I have the lowest grade: 8.6.

I look on the idea summary and I see that Lean Startup (my topic) is mentioned in most of the commentaries.

I look on the improvements form and I can’t find anything related to me.

I am a smart guy (or at least that’s what I want to think), so I say to myself that I shouldn’t be affected by the numbers.

But my heart doesn’t want to listen to my mind.

The emotions that I’m going through, disappointment and sadness, make me think all these dark thoughts: “So I open my heart there and I go pro bono, and they don’t appreciate it, they’re the stupid ones, I hate them, I don’t want to see them again, I’ll never go there again, Romania is shitty etc.”

I realize that I’m going over the board, I’m exaggerating for nothing.
So, let’s see what exactly happened there?

I received a piece of information, I negatively interpreted it, I felt hurt, and my first reaction was to close myself and attack everyone (thanks, mom!).

Ok, let’s stop this mechanism, take a deep breath, relax, let my turmoil settle.
The next day I think about finding more from the organizers, so I send them an email and ask them how my speech was, according to the ones present in the room.

I get this answer: “I thought all day about your speech on Saturday. A possible key may be that, at some point along the talk, they didn’t manage to take any learning from what you were saying, anymore. They probably didn’t know how to address the part with therapy and abuse. In order to be more effective: you can just talk about your lean startup experiences so far. I am fascinated when you explain in simple and concise ways, using metaphors, complex concepts.”

Aha, so too much authenticity for most of them.

Indeed, I get them. They came to find out how to make tons of money and, then, party in Hawaii, and I shattered their dreams with sad examples from my life.

Maybe it was too much sharing? Maybe I said too much? Maybe I talked with so much honesty and openness because I needed that, not them? Maybe I should shut myself in, to become a professional, to say only what they need and can hear?

After another 2 days of rumination, I realize that I have the email address from someone in the room, so let’s ask him as well.

The other day, this is what I receive:

“I’m glad you asked, because I kept on thinking if it’s appropriate or not to write to you. Smile emoticon afterwards.

Saturday you showed a much profounder and more human Dragos, more honest, more authentic than the one I knew from our other short interactions. On Sunday afternoon, I actually met X and I told him about how you had impressed me, that you are a real man! Smile emoticon again.

I was surprised (I have to admit) by your confession, considering the subject (that hurts and hurts), but, by saying something so personal, you taught a lesson of humanity for those present, and even a character lesson for the entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs. Of course, people who are cold and indifferent won’t appreciate that. It’s their thing, their loss. Smile emoticon.

But, I tell you this, in all honesty, considering the addressed topics, you and Y were the ones that were the most on target, the ones that offered the most valuable information. And you were the only ones to present your human side. This shows interest, involvement, a desire to give.

I’m really happy that we crossed paths and had the chance to interact! Smile emotion”

After reading this answer, I feel better.

Aha, I know that at least one person benefited from my openness.

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My learnings


The only feedback that you need after a presentation, talk, training etc. is the qualitative one, as it is the only one that shows what went right and what can be improved

I observed (once again) my defense mechanism when feeling unappreciated

It’s important to find in each interaction new solutions, so as to fulfill both my need for honesty and my need for efficiency.

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Did you have a similar experience? What did you learn?