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It happens all the time. You do something, don’t think hard about the implications of it, and then realize that you’ve “stepped in shit.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve done this in business over the last 20+ years – at least I know how to clean my sneakers off quickly and efficiently.
Earlier today I had a phone call with an exec from one of my portfolio companies. He did something recently that could only be characterized as stepping in shit. It ultimately came back around to me because of the various people involved. It wasn’t a major thing (stepping in shit never is), but it was unpleasant, a little messy, and smelled bad. My reaction – when I heard about it – was similar to the one I have after the aforementioned physical event.
We had a great, short talk. He quickly got the implications of what he did, realized it wasn’t appropriate, and took corrective action. But – more importantly – I think he learned from it.
Stepping in shit doesn’t hurt, isn’t life or death, but is unpleasant. Learning how to walk a little more carefully through a field that is regularly visited by dogs is a healthy thing.