Getting hate as a founder

We recently had a user send us this set of messages (on our customer support tickets and on my personal Instagram account!):


We move money for our users, so I can see why emotions are at a high and why there is so much frustration. (However, I wish foul language was not a part of the equation — no matter who you talk to, mutual human respect is always important. The way you treat people in service positions signals the way you treat humans overall.)

I thought the reactions of founders vs. non-founders were very different. While many people might default feel attacked or discouraged for receiving messages likes this, I thought “Great! Milestone unlocked. This is a good problem to have.” When I told my founder friends, their attitude was similar — they congratulated me for reaching a founder milestone.

First, a couple things to point out:

  1. We were responsive to this user, during the hours that we outlined. But sometimes, minutes can mean hours and hours can feel like days when it comes to money.
  2. For the parts that we as a company, could control, we unfortunately could not do anything else to have solved their problem at the time. The best that we tried to do was continue to communicate what we knew and what we could.
  3. This is 1 very frustrated user out of VERY MANY happy users that love our product.

If the above 3 were different, for example:

  1. We did not communicate properly
  2. We were actually at fault and could have done something about it but didn’t
  3. We have 1 happy user out of very many unhappy users.

...I might have thought about the situation differently.

Instead, I thought that this was a good problem to have because it signaled that:

  1. People cared enough about the problem or what we were solving to showcase this extreme behavior
  2. We got signal about what parts of the product people really really wanted to be improved (and that we could be in a position to solve better)
  3. We went past a point of exposure that while have MANY people that love us, we also now have some critiques (though we’ll try to keep this to a minimum!) Think about any celebrity that has acquired any scale of fame or love — they also have a band of people on the other side of that love, because at a certain point, people will just have opposing opinions.

Of course, we want to keep this negative to a minimum, and we will continue to do so.

However, for founders, this signals that there is something in the market to keep tugging on and is interestingly more a sign of growth than anything to take personally.