Do you know how to say yes?

It's time to exhale, draw back — and release the full force of your creativity. Your ideal customers deserve everything you've got.

Do you know how to say yes?
Photo by Matthew Smith / Unsplash

I leaned forward to hover closer to the supine iPhone on speaker. It was perched on a too-small white Ikea end table in the middle of a proportionally small startup office: Russian dolls of humble confines.

My contact and champion couldn't see them, but my arms were gesturing the way a politician's do when he's trying to squeeze the last votes out of some late ballots in a tight race.

He let me finish, then strung together an attack on my very core:

"Is this just an extra feature, something you're thinking about ...

Or are you guys like, all in on this?"

My fencing partner could be colloquial because he knew he had the upper hand. I had to orate. He was hailing from the headquarters of one of the largest companies in the world. I was in the kind of office you have when you're just proud to have your own space — more strip mall, less tech hub.

The air of optimism and confidence I had spent the last 20 minutes infusing into the conversation evaporated like mist in the Sahara. He had seen my raise and called.

His question flowed into my ears and the political persona I had loaded for this delicate exchange was about to answer, when my brain interrupted my body with a telegraph:


My mouth received this signal the way a pedestrian receives an oncoming car. Between my larynx and tongue, mushy, non-committal words were transmogrified into bold, assuring words:

'We're all in on this.'

I glanced at my CTO with that look he had seen before. Except this time, we had a customer. A glorious Moby Dick of validation, breaching right in front of us.  

We were ready to be possessed Ahabs.

More Wood, Fewer Arrows

For all of the wisdom of learning to say no 🐙, there is power in saying yes. If saying no is the draw of the arrow, saying yes is the release. All no and we only have potential. All yes and we never take flight 🐙.

Although I couldn't quite make out the bullseye, those five words — "we're all in on this" had set the next 5 years in motion, and take flight we did, though not without some turbulence.

The secret to saying "yes" well is accepting the fact that you are not some kind of Legolas or Hawkeye, for whom the arrows flow eternal and your aim is that of Artemis.

No, sorry. You're a backwoods, renaissance festival LARP with questionable aim and a quiver that has at most half a dozen arrows. And your targets might as well be armored tanks. To succeed, you're going to need to fire at least 1 arrow to see if you are directionally correct, maybe another as a tracer once it sounds like you've hit something.

It's likely the first misses completely — whiff. The onlooking offspring of your local nerds will wonder if this is your first weekend.

That leaves you with 3 arrows to concentrate on your target.

Fortunately, you're no imposter. You crafted each with sufficient weight and spine 🐙 to do real damage. You've exercised patience by saying no, and now you've found your target.

It's time to exhale, draw back — and release the full force of your creativity. Your ideal customers deserve everything you've got.