Meting Out A Valid Criticism Does Not Make You Disloyal To The Spirit Of Entrepreneurship


You’re reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

“Homegrown doesn’t mean holy,” I said to a friend the other day, who was using that particular characteristic of a rather popular business born in the UAE to defend it from allegations that indicated its owners may have not been running the company in an entirely ethical manner. After all, it’s one thing to give a business the benefit of the doubt when it’s accused of a misstep; it’s another thing altogether to absolve it of any wrongdoing simply on account of its apparent origin story.

It’s not just homegrown enterprises thoughit seems as though many among us are disinclined to even consider the validity of complaints made against, say, a small business that we might have championed in the past, or a company that’s the current darling of venture capitalists. As much as we may like the spectacle of whistleblowing as showcased in Hollywood movies and television shows, it does seem like we prefer to entertain them only when they are far removed from us; the ones that might be right in front of us are brushed away without a glance.

I feel like this is a problem that’s particularly pronounced in the Middle East- the region’s strict defamation laws, as well as what seems to be a general consensus against ruffling any feathers, has caused us all to shirk away from criticisms of anyone and anything. Add to that our personal biases, and we often either dismiss the possibility that gross abuses of power might be taking place around us, or simply just turn a blind eye to all of that “negativity.” And while I’ll admit that it is definitely easier to live in the bubbles of our own making, there is also danger inherent in choosing to stay in such echo chambers.

For one, you might actually be depriving an entrepreneur of a much-needed criticism that could enhance their company’s business model, service offering, what have you. If you could help out your favorite startup, wouldn’t you like to? Just because you are sharing an “unpopular opinion” doesn’t mean you are in the wrong. Often, it may put you in the position of being the only right one.

Related: The Nays Have It: Passing On An “Opportunity” Isn’t Always A Bad Idea

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