Do what other people tell you to do and, generally speaking, you’ll get similar results to what they achieved.
Much of the time, that’s great. When your goal is to replicate, it makes no sense to waste time reinventing a perfectly good wheel.
But if you’re trying to create a product, service or business that is truly groundbreaking, too much input can actually be a problem.
That’s why Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann calls this the best advice he ever got:
“Don’t take too much advice.”
Why? According to Silberman, “Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalize whatever they did. Every company carves its own path, and (founders) are under pressure to make their startups look like the last successful company everyone remembers.”
Of course that’s not an easy approach to take. We’re taught to seek input. We’re trained to actively solicit opinions, bounce ideas off others, and harness the power of groups.
The problem is the main power wielded by group thinking is the power of the middle ground. Groups tend to dull sharp edges. Groups tend to revert to the mean. Group decisions give the individuals in the group an out; if a group is wrong, everyone is wrong.
But if you’re a startup hoping to create something different — and achieve something different — taking too much advice can be a problem. What matters is your vision. What matters is your perspective, your passion, and your insight.
Most importantly, what matters is your sense of responsibility. When you chart your own course, you’ll work harder to prove — especially to yourself — that you were right.