Startup founders must overcome information overload

Entrepreneurs share their tips for weighing advice and data

Many of the founders I have spoken to said one of their biggest early challenges was figuring out how to sift through all the advice they receive.

Advice overload plagues everyone and founders have it especially bad, given that most startups have a board of advisors. Founders described needing conviction in their decisions and preserving carved out time for their own information processing. They viewed the ability to sift through all this advice as a crucial skill to learn.

“There is so much information out there, you end up driving yourself crazy,” said Devin Lennon, founder of end-of-life advice service Death Doula Devin. “Figuring out who is more helpful than others was difficult. Typically people with more experience tended to be more helpful, but not always,” said Hardbound founder Nathan Baschez. “We wasted a lot of time talking to the wrong people.”

According to Ryan Williams, CEO and co-founder of proptech platform Cadre, “The real challenge is who you listen to for which points. You get information overload. The real skill is pattern recognition over time of who is actually useful for good information — knowing who to listen to and for what. You get a lot of conflicting advice. That’s where I’ve grown the most.”