Paul Bricault | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Paul Bricault

Background:  

Amplify.LA is a Los Angeles-based startup accelerator and campus that helps companies thrive with a flexible and tailored approach.

The Mistake:

This was nearly 10 years ago, I was spending some degree of time with a company and had developed a relationship with the entrepreneurs. I was helping them and then they converted the conversation to whether I wanted to invest. And I can remember, very clearly seeing the red blinking light, saying this is a bad idea. But, I convinced myself that it was the right thing to do. I can think back to the moment I was sitting in the restaurant with the entrepreneur and the little voice in my head saying, "Don't do it. Don't do it," and then hearing the words come out of my mouth, "Okay. I'm in."

That decision was driven by me not trusting my innate instincts, my gut reaction. I had developed a relationship with them and the business in no way smelled bad.

But, it eventually went under.

 

Trust your instinct over the wisdom of the crowd.

The Lesson:

The knee-jerk reaction, particularly when you are younger, is to assume that everyone older is more experienced and has better judgement. But if that internal guide, that red blinking light is going off, you should listen to it. In the past, not listening to that internal voice has led me to make mistakes. Basically, no matter what the collective wisdom of the crowd is, if your first reaction is to run, you should run.

When you are away from the noise, usually it results in being able to distill down to the truth. At least your own truth, because you are the best judge of yourself. It comes from inside, from some kind of personal belief system, from emotion. So, trust your instinct over the wisdom of the crowd.