RS030: Detecting and Avoiding Bullshit In Your Life

Rogue Startups
Rogue Startups
RS030: Detecting and Avoiding Bullshit In Your Life


Big announcement for anyone looking to join up with like-minded entrepreneurs for a long weekend, and enjoy some epic skiing or snow boarding.  Dave is coordinating Big Snow Tiny Conf West.  This is a 3 day combination of epic business discussions in a long term mastermind style format, and some awesome time on the slopes.  Beaver Creek, CO will be the location and it will be from Feb 8-11.  Head over to to learn more.

Today On the Show

What’s that smell?  That’s right, even with the best of intentions, the most strict adherence to our systems, and surrounding ourselves with like-minded entrepreneurs, sometimes piles of bullshit can creep up into our businesses.  Often times this happens so suddenly, and over a long period of time that we don’t even realize it until something stark happens in our business to take inventory of our situation.  That’s when it hits the fan.

Today Dave and I talk about how we both have faced some serious obstacles in our businesses because we failed to detect, and more importantly avoid, the Bullshit in our lives.  Whether this is your own denial about a business problem, your mastermind or inner circle not giving you candid feedback, or just people taking advantage of your situation, it’s something that must be avoided in order for you to maintain that forward progress that we all know is so important.

To begin with you must first establish that there are 3 main reasons why people lie, as described in Scott Berkun’s Article:

  1. To Protect Themselves
  2. Sometimes It Works
  3. We Want to be Better than we See Ourselves

Ok, great.  Now that we’ve established the motive behind this how about what steps we can take to detect this in our lives and in our businesses before it becomes a problem.

  • The first detection tool is a question: How do you know what you know?
  • The second tool is also a question: What is the counter argument?
    • Similarly useful questions include: Who besides you shares this opinion? What are your biggest concerns, and what will you do to address them? What would need to change for you to have a different (opposite) opinion?
  • Use time & pressure, the third tool of BS detection, in your favor: never allow big decisions to be mismanaged to the point where they must be made urgently.
    • Confidence in reduction – Especially in business and technology, jargon and obfuscation hide huge quantities of BS.
  • Assignment of trust – The fourth tool of BS detection (derived from the rule of expecting BS) is careful assignment of your trust.

Aside from this framework to help you avoid misguided influences on your business, it’s important to make sure that the feedback you are getting is candid and 100% open.  A mastermind setting has been proven to be the best place to receive this type of feedback, but even in a mastermind there is a framework that avoids some of the openness that we all need.

So what about turning the tables on yourself once in a while?  Dave and I loved a recent article from Nathan Barry about how he and his mastermind did just this on a recent retreat they went on.  Try this in your next mastermind session and let us know how it goes.  Dave and I are both going to be trying different versions of this in our upcoming masterminds and we’ll report back with updates on their results.

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