STARTUP CEO: The Secret To Success Is Never Telling A Lie


rebekah campbell of posse

Rebekah Campbell

Rebekah Campbell, founder and CEO of Posse

How many lies do you tell a day? Perhaps white lies to save an employee's feelings, exaggerations to make yourself look better in front of your boss, or cherry picking the truth when dealing with clients? How many lies a day do you tell yourself?


Rebekah Campbell, chief executive of social search startup Posse, confessed in a New York Times article that when she truly examined her behavior, she discovered that she lied all the time - and it was holding her back from success.

Campbell didn't think much about the lies she told, she said, until recently when she met with a prolific entrepreneur and angel investor, Peter, and asked what he thought was the secret to success. His surprising answer? "The secret to success in business and in life is to never, ever, ever tell a lie."

Of course, people lie all the time - on their resumes, in their online dating profiles, in pitch meetings with potential investors. Peter believes that's the top reason entrepreneurs fail. If they're not being honest with others or themselves, they may not realize fast enough that their strategy isn't working, their projections are off, or they've lost the faith of their staff and customers.

"Since my meeting with Peter a few months ago, I've thought about truth and its relationship to creativity, peace, and ultimately success," Campbell said. "I decided to test his ideas by trying to be 100% honest and transparent all of the time, even when I did not have to be."


Now when she pitches investors, she tells the whole truth. She points out misspent funds and mistakes she's made. And rather than discounting her, she said they are more likely to invest.

It turns out that honesty, as long as it's well-intentioned, is exactly the thing that makes people trust you. And accurately seeing your mistakes and learning from them, is a major factor of your ultimate success.

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