Insights and Opinions: Listen to the words, but focus on the meaning

Neil Senturia is a well known San Diego serial entrepreneur and investor, who is publishing a new book, I'm There For You Baby, next month. Neil let us republish an excerpt from his book for our Insights and Opinions section today.

Rule #284: Listen to the words, but more importantly, focus on the meaning behind them.

I started Atcom with seven employees in a two-story funky loft space in downtown San Diego, catty-corner from a small deli called the Cheese Shop.

On the first day of our new adventure, I walked across to the Cheese Shop and asked to speak to the owner, Tom Shutz. I was careful not to go during the peak lunch hour. The girl at the front went to get him, and he came out from the back to speak with me. I explained that I was the CEO of a new software company across the street and that I would like to get a charge account so that my genius engineers will not waste any time going out to get food. They can just order a sandwich, pick it up (maybe you would even deliver to us?), and that way they could keep coding. Seemed logical to me. "I would like to open a charge account."

Tom: "We don't do charge accounts."

Neil: "No, no, see you don't understand. I have these geniuses across the street, and we could give you a lot of our business because you would be the closest and easiest place to eat and so it is obviously in your best interest (think Daniel Kahneman) to give us a charge account, because it would increase your business."

Tom: "Very interesting. We don't do charge accounts."

Neil: "No, see you don't understand." (Continued...)

Read the rest of Neil's story in Listen to the words, but more importantly, but focus on the meaning of those words.