The Inevitability of Blind Spots (& Why You Should Embrace Yours)
The right partner can help you see around corners and turn blind spots to your advantage as an entrepreneur.
In numerous self-help books and business blogs across the web, you’ll find platitudes about overcoming your blind spots or even eliminating them. However, the truth is that for all humans, (1) having blind spots is unavoidable and (2) removing them is impossible.
I don’t say this lightly - it’s a scientific fact that they are permanent, but there are ways to mitigate or even exploit them to your advantage, especially as an entrepreneur.
Ironically, Your Eye’s Blind Spot Is What Allows You To See
The human eye has a natural blind spot - everyone has one and most people don’t even notice. It’s the exact spot at the back of our eye where our optic nerve connects to our retina; because there are no light sensitive-cells on the retina at that connection point, we are unable to see anything there. It’s a little crazy: the precise reason we are able to see is also the reason our optical blind spot exists. There is nothing that can be done to overcome this, and it’s impossible to work or think your way out of having these blind spots.
Try it for yourself: Find your own optical Blind Spot
Close your left eye.
Stare at the circle.
Move closer to the screen, then farther away.
Keep doing this until the plus sign disappears.
When it disappears, you have found your right eye’s blind spot.
Beyond Your Eyes: Audio Blind Spots
Blind spots aren’t limited to vision - we also have an audio “blind spot”. When you hear a sound, you can usually pinpoint where it’s coming from around you. This is because humans have two ears ~20 cm apart and a powerful brain that uses the difference in arrival time of sound waves to each ear to work out the direction of a sound’s origin. But below a certain low frequency (where the half wavelength becomes larger than the distance between our two ears), we entirely lose our ability to identify where the sound is coming from.
This may sound like a weakness, but it’s actually critical to home theater/speaker design: due to this audio blind spot, audio subwoofers that focus on low bass sounds can be placed anywhere in a room and people can’t hear the difference (in stark contrast to the rest of your speakers where placement is central).
How Entrepreneurs Can Use VCs to Help With Blind spots
Again, we all have these blind spots, and they are impossible to get rid of or overcome. But in the case of our metaphorical blind spots, and especially in the context of business: the more aware you are of your blind spots, the easier they are to turn to your advantage (just as subwoofers exploit our audio blind spot).
So what does this mean for entrepreneurs? Most entrepreneurs are smart and hardworking people who are deeply passionate about what they do, and it is precisely because of this deep immersion in their startup that certain blind spots emerge.
Partnering with the right VC can help you mitigate those tricky blind spots and help you see around corners in the following ways:
Tracking your ecosystem of partners and competitors: Time researching/analyzing what others are doing is time away from building. Instead, sector-focused VCs can play a business development role for you as they meet hundreds of companies and network with players in your ecosystem.
Understanding external trends that could impact your business: Busy entrepreneurs may not have time to monitor broader industry trends (e.g., Apple rolling out a software update that could impact their own technology). There may even be other operational trends and tools that VCs can spot across their portfolio and share with you.
Contextualize your startup’s growth and flagging common pitfalls at various phases: Great startups tend to grow so quickly that it can be hard to spot which functional areas may be underperforming and need beefing up. Great VCs have seen more situations and how they play out. This accumulated knowledge can mitigate this blind spot.
The best way to identify and exploit these and any other blind spots you might have as an entrepreneur is to partner with a great team, advisor, or investor (like Ubiquity Ventures). These people have seen it all or been through it themselves, and they can help identify opportunities to fill in the gaps where necessary.
Ubiquity Ventures — led by Sunil Nagaraj — is a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on startups solving real-world physical problems with "software beyond the screen", often using smart hardware or machine learning.
If your startup fits this description, fill out the 60-second Ubiquity pitch form and you’ll hear back within 24 hours.
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