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商业 - 科技

请愿平台女掌门:后悔做错事好过后悔没做

《财富》 2013年07月18日

詹妮弗•杜尔斯基深信:“最让人后悔的往往是那些他们没有去尝试的事情,比如没有接受某一份工作,或者没有和自己真正喜欢的人约会。”正因为如此,尽管创业路上屡次遭遇挫折,她也没有放弃,这才有了今天的在线请愿平台Change.org。

    财富头脑风暴技术会议(Brainstorm Tech Conference,定于7月22-24日在科罗拉多州阿斯彭召开)总是能吸引技术创新领域最顶尖的人才。《财富》(Furtune)杂志每周都会聚焦于一名与会者,让他们谈谈在公司经营、技术和创业方面的个人观点。本周,我们邀请了在线请愿平台Change.org总裁兼首席运营官詹妮弗•杜尔斯基回答了十个问题,内容涉及工作以外的生活、她最欣赏的公司以及对年轻创业者的建议。以下是她的答案:

你得到过的最佳建议是什么?

    这个建议来自康乃尔大学(Cornell)教授托马斯•季洛维奇对后悔现象的研究。季洛维奇是我最喜欢的康乃尔大学教授之一。研究的结论是:“行动或者做错事会带来较多短期内的后悔情绪,而不作为或者疏漏则会带来较多长期后悔情绪。”换句话说,短期内人们会对那些“不好”的选择感到后悔,比如做出尝试而遭到拒绝,或者找了一份自己不喜欢的工作;但如果回首自己的一生,那就会是另一种情形:最让人后悔的往往是那些他们没有去尝试的事情,比如没有接受某一份工作,或者没有和自己真正喜欢的人约会。面对选择时,我经常会想到这项研究,它会激励我尝试新事物,挑战我自己。

你在学校里学到的最重要的东西是什么?

    学校里给我带来最多挑战的老师同时也是让我学到最多东西的老师。我还记得我的中学老师乔•迪普里斯科,他要求我们在写作功力和语法准确性方面做到无可挑剔。虽然让他纠正错误不是一件舒服的事,但上了他的课以后我的写作能力得到了很大的提升。我相信这个原则同样适用于企业经营:一个人要明白,那些给你带来压力的人才会让你得到提高,要把那些不害怕挑战你的人留在身边。同样的,对于你团队中的其他人来说,如果你有这样的期望,他们的表现就更有可能达到完美,所以应当保持高标准。

你经历过的最大失误是什么?

    第一次创业时,我犯过一个大错误,现在我还觉得很可笑。那时,公司刚刚起步,我在第一款产品的名字里用了省略号,目的是得到一个不需要花很多钱的域名。我选择了“Center'd”这个词(因为已经有人注册了“Centered”,而我们又买不起这个域名)。省略号是个特殊字符,这给我们的网站编程带来了各种各样的问题;不仅如此,你几乎没办法把它用在所有格里,否则就会出现一个带有双重省略号的词!我得到的主要教训是:选名字一定要容易拼写,要能清楚解释你的业务内容,而且这个词最好全世界都通用。“Center'd”这个词连一点也做不到。而我们第二个产品的名字——“The Dealmap”则三者兼具。你不觉得这个名字更容易在短时间内说明问题,同时说服人们使用我们的产品吗?

    Fortune's Brainstorm Tech Conference(July 22-24 in Aspen, Colo.) regularly brings together the best and brightest minds in tech innovation. Each week, Fortune turns the spotlight on a different conference attendee to offer his or her own personal insight into business, tech, and entrepreneurship. This week, we asked Change.org President and COO Jennifer Dulski to answer 10 questions about life outside of work, the company she admires most, and industry advice for young entrepreneurs. Her responses follow.

What is the best advice you ever received?

    It came from a research study by one of my favorite Cornell professors, Thomas Gilovich, focusing on regret. The research concluded, "Actions, or errors of commission, generate more regret in the short-term; but inactions, or errors of omission, produce more regret in the long run." In other words, while people in the short-term regret "bad" choices, like trying out for something and getting rejected or choosing a job and deciding they don't like it, things are different when they look back on their lives: they most often regret the things they did not try, like not accepting a certain job offer, or not asking out that person they really liked. I often think of this research when faced with a decision, and it pushes me to try new things and challenge myself.

What was the most important thing you learned in school?

    The teachers who challenged me the most were also the ones I learned the most from in school. I remember a particular high school teacher of mine, Joe DiPrisco, who had impeccably high standards for strong writing and correct grammar. Even though it was uncomfortable to be corrected, I finished his class as a much stronger writer. I believe the same principle holds true in business – understand that those who push you will make you better, and surround yourself with people who aren't afraid to challenge you. Similarly, others on your team are more likely to exhibit excellence when you expect it of them, so keep your standards high.

What has been your biggest failure?

    There's one big mistake I made as a first time entrepreneur that I still laugh about. I named my startup's first product with an apostrophe. In the desire to get a name we could afford without paying through the nose for a domain, I chose "Center'd" (because "Centered" was taken and we couldn't afford to buy it). Not only is an apostrophe a "special character" that caused all kinds of issues in the code for our website, but it was also nearly impossible to speak about Center'd in the possessive, since it then had a double apostrophe! My main learning was this: pick a name that's easy to spell, helps to clearly explain what you do, and, ideally, works around the world. "Center'd" did none of those things. But "The Dealmap," the name for our second product, did all three – and boy, was it easier to give our elevator pitch and to get people to use our product.

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