Penguin feedback

How many people are willing to tell you something that upsets you? How many people in your life are willing to contradict you? How about when it’s something intensely emotional, something you hold dear? At Ender, our most important value is to be open-minded. Open-minded people take and give feedback.

I feel lucky to have been in relationships, personal and professional, where friends and family gave me candid feedback. It was feedback I didn’t agree with at the time, feedback I thought was unfair. But I respect them, so I listened, and it opened my mind. I knew their intentions were positive, so the feedback made me question my view of the world. If someone I trust has a contrary opinion, I listen. This, like all the most important things in life, is a simple, hard thing, i.e., easier said than done.

When you shoot the messenger, you lose your messengers. Shooting messengers leads to never getting messages.


Everyone has blind spots. We can’t be aware of everything all the time. Being close is a double-edged sword. We know the details but miss the forest for the trees. We need those around us to see our blind spots, as we aren’t built to see our gaps or weaknesses.

A successful CEO described every detail of his work to a CEO coach. The coach followed him for a week— half the things the CEO told the coach the CEO didn’t actually do. Half the stuff the CEO did, he never mentioned to the coach. Actions and words are different.

Someone can’t advise you unless they watch you play the game. Similarly, you can’t tell a player how to improve from reading the news reports. 

Inner Circle

Friends, family, and co-workers can help refine your view of the world. This is one of the many values of having close relationships. They understand your actions— you can’t lie to them and construct false narratives as they see your actions. Your inner circle has pattern recognition of who you are as a person. Intentions matter.

When opening my mind to a new opinion, I imagine someone agrees with me on all my frameworks but disagrees with me on one. It makes me trust their judgment as they share my hard-learned frameworks. What could make them disagree with me on that one framework or issue?

If you care about truth, cultivate an inner circle and seek feedback.