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June 24, 2024 | Tom Ballard

It’s “we,” not “I”

Latest column from David Cummings reminds us of a statement that the late Alex Haley frequently uttered.

David Cummings, Founder of Atlanta Tech Village and also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Atlanta Ventures, writes insightful, common-sense articles that share his years of experience as an entrepreneur.

His latest one reminds us of a frequent statement from the late Alex Haley, author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family. We are paraphrasing what Haley said: “If you see a turtle on a fencepost, it did not get there on its own.” That truism was uttered in a recent column by Cummings when he reminded entrepreneurs that people pay attention to how the entrepreneur describes his or her ownership of the start-up. People notice whether the entrepreneur gives or takes credit. Of course, the entrepreneur was instrumental; otherwise, the business wouldn’t exist. At the same time, the collective ‘we’ actually made it happen.

He continued, “I made this mistake for many years during my journey as a founder. When referencing the startup, I would say ‘I’ in too many scenarios where it was actually a ‘we.’ Thankfully, I was given some feedback that shared how I sounded selfish and it was actually a team effort — that everyone worked to achieve the things we achieve. Now, anytime I hear an entrepreneur say, ‘I did something,’ that should be stated using ‘we.'”

Yes, just like the turtle that somehow was on top of the fencepost, entrepreneurs need to be mindful of those who helped them along the way.

Click here to read his column.

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