Poornima Vijayashanker

Learning to Say No: The Secret Power of Successful Startups


Welcome to the third season of FemgineerTV!

We’re stoked to have some great guests coming up who will help us explore themes that you probably haven’t come across before, like the power of saying no, planning pauses into your career, and more!

If you’re new to FemgineerTV, be sure to check out episodes from our previous two seasons. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and watch them there, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes if you’d prefer to listen on-the-go.

Let’s get started with today’s episode!

It’s the start of a new year, and you’re probably really excited to run some experiments for your startup or company. Since you’re keen on trying a lot of things, you’re probably going to be saying “yes” a lot! Saying “yes” is a great way to show others that we’re open to trying new things, taking in feedback, and making time for them.

However, when we say “yes” over and over, we start to lose our focus. If we do it too many times, it can be disastrous, especially when time is of the essence and we are trying to get something off the ground, like a startup!

So today we’re going to flip things around learn a simple and tactical way to say “no.” And to teach us how to say “no” the right way, I’ve invited Steli Efti, the CEO and Co-Founder of Close.io.

While Steli and I dig into best practices for people who are in startups, this episode also contains valuable nuggets for individuals out there who have struggled to effectively say “no” to a boss, teammate, or customer.

Don’t miss watching this episode and learning the following from Steli:

  • Why saying “no” is really hard, and receiving a “no” is even harder;
  • What you need to say “no” to;
  • How to say “no” politely and effectively, especially to influential people like customers, teammates, and bosses;
  • How to help others from overpromising and getting comfortable saying “no”; and
  • What we should be saying “yes” to.

In the episode, we mention the importance of having an anti-product roadmap, or what I like to a call a Not-to-Do list. Here’s how to create one, along with Steli’s podcast.

Now I want to know what are you going to say “no” to at the start of the year? Let me know in the comments below!

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FemgineerTV is produced as a partnership between Femgineer and Pivotal Tracker. San Francisco video production by StartMotionMEDIA.