When you set out to disrupt an industry you're going to make some enemies, particularly those people who resist change and want to keep doing things the way they've always been done. Take it from AJ Forsythe, CEO of iCracked, a company that provides on-demand smartphone repair, trade-ins and protection plans. With 5,000 independent repair technicians, known as iTechs, in over 500 cities in the U.S.--and expecting to more than double that number by the end of the year--Forsythe says his company is the largest company of its kind in the country.
As you might expect, traditional repair shops don't like the Uber-like model. "I think there's somewhat of a dichotomy between brick and mortar going against the on-demand space," he says. "But in Silicon Valley you can literally download an app for on-demand just about anything." If you can relate with this kind of friction, take heart. Forsythe says you can turn around the negative energy coming your way from haters. Here's what you need to remember.
1. People love underdogs.
The reverse is also true. Like it or not, some portion of the population gets perverse satisfaction in seeing successful people and companies fail.
2. If you're not pissing people off, you're doing something wrong.
It's something Robert Stephens, founder of The Geek Squad, told Forsythe at one point. "Even the greatest companies in the world have haters who talk trash about them," Forsythe says. It's true--just visit the comments section of any popular tech blog. Even--or especially--the likes of Apple and Google have fiercely loyal fans the equally dedicated haters.
3. Winning is about honoring the people who helped get you where you are today.
In Forsythe's case it's all those who had a hand in building his company, whether his employees, the thousands of iTechs representing the brand, or the company's investors, including Y Combinator. "Spite is a powerful thing," he says. "If people hate on your company and you're successful then that's amazing."