Giving Feedback

A thumb rule I use for feedback is—what can I say that would help this person get one level higher with their work? This helps scale feedback to where someone is currently at in terms of skills, thought process and ability to execute.

Giving someone pointers for things that are too far beyond their current abilities is not very helpful, and may result in confusion (at best) or hostility (at worst).

Receiving Feedback

When you work hard and spend time on making something, you tend to fall in love with it. If you get emotionally attached to your work, it becomes really hard to hear “this sucks” and it becomes very easy to interpret it as “you suck”.

There is some pride that I inevitably have about my ideas and my work, and so once in a while I’ll receive some feedback that I disagree with so much that it will make me angry, where I will internally rage at how people are missing the point of what I’m trying to do. It’s feedback that I’ve remembered for a long time because it was so jarring and unexpected, and to my surprise a lot of those things have started to make sense to me years after I had those conversations.

Sometimes you’re so used to thinking about things in a certain way that someone pointing out alternative ways of thinking is a shock. Sit with that discomfort, it may lead to growth. It’s best to try and take a beat when you hear something about your work. Do not respond immediately—even if you disagree completely with what is being said. It is often more useful to hear everyone out in the time available and set up time to follow up individually to discuss in more detail.