Being a Hater Gets You Nowhere

by Byron on September 22, 2014

Decker and Gibson,

AVVO is a company in the lawyer marketing space.  For some time, I was an AVVO hater.  They will never work.  They don’t offer any value.  Blah, blah.

I took me too long to learn a lesson I hope you guys can learn earlier than I did: Don’t be a hater.  It gets you nowhere.  No matter how competitive you might be, be happy for the successes of others.

I said to myself early on, shortly after AVVO raised their first round of venture capital – “They will not succeed.  Their lawyer profiles don’t offer anything.  I can do it better.”

I didn’t take enough time to pause and say, “Can they succeed?  What will their success look like?  How can I be part of it?”  I simply said I can do it better and I will.  In some ways, it was simply blind envy.

I built InjuryLawyerDatabase.com to be the AVVO with true value add… Statistics on lawyers.  I created lawyer profiles with real statistics from real cases.  I had big dreams.  I was going to get all the federal cases.  I was going to go state to state and get a record of every case.  It would be the biggest, most useful database of litigators ever created.

Ultimately, I’m in a position where what I’m doing with InjuryLawyerDatabase will not scale.  It will not be the wide solution I was hoping for to connect consumers with the appropriate lawyer.  On the other hand, AVVO just raised $40million in additional venture capital.  Now, my projects are succeeding in their own right and $40 million in additional venture money will not guarantee AVVO success.  However, it was their scale and widespread application that I was envious of and hated on.  They continue to have scale, I continue to not.

I guess my point is, why would you disparage someone or something unless 1.) you were envious or 2.) you otherwise don’t feel good about yourself and want to make yourself feel better or 3.) you’re an asshole.  None of those options are particularly flattering.  None of those options are things you want to be or qualities you want to have.  The only real solution is don’t disparage.  Don’t hate.

If you guys wind up being competitive and driven like me, this may not always be easy.  Sometimes it’s tough to watch others have successes you haven’t had yet and both be motivated by them and yet not disparage them.

I’m at the Clio conference in Chicago  right now.  Clio is the case management software our law firm uses.  I was excited to start using Clio.  I have been excited to continue using it and excited to be part of the community and ecosystem they are building.  By not hating, I embrace them and their developments.  This brings me a tremendous advantage.  For instance, last year at the Clio conference, I met Ed Walters.  Besides being a really nice guy with a son a few years older than you two, his organization named me part of their 50 most innovative people in law in 2014.  Pretty cool.  This year I met Mark Britton, the CEO of AVVO.  Pretty cool.  Who knows what the future brings …

For all I learn and all I do and all I become, I am most excited that I get to share it with you two and your Mom.  I love you guys.

Dad

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