Friday, January 23, 2009

It’s Not You…It’s Professional

It’s not you it’s me… I need some space… I want to concentrate on my career…

I could go on and on with this list of corny overused dumping phrases, we’ve all either heard or said them, but what to say when you’re doing a professional dumping.

By professional dumping I mean rejection in a business sense…. Firing someone, not hiring someone, saying no to a sales person’s pitch. We really have an awful lot of professional dumping to do in the business world.

How do you do it so that you get your message across without having the dumpee despise you, key your car and run over your puppy?

Well how about this for a rejection letter:

We're sorry to say we couldn't accept your proposal for funding. Please don't take it personally. Despite the stock market crash we got a record number of applications this time, and the average quality was high. And since there's a limit on the number of interviews we can do, we had to turn away a lot of genuinely promising groups.

Another reason you shouldn't take this personally is that we know we make lots of mistakes. It's alarming how often the last group to make it over the threshold for interviews ends up being one that we fund. That means there are surely other good groups that fall just below the threshold and that we miss even interviewing.

We're trying to get better at this, but it's practically certain that groups we rejected will go on to create successful startups. If you do, we'd appreciate it if you'd send us an email telling us about it; we want to learn from our mistakes.

Y Combinator Staff

It’s from the team at and I think it’s one of the more brilliant rejection letters I’ve ever seen. It’s humble and endearing yet it gets the message across.

I’ll definitely be rewording my “professional dumping” after reading this – how ‘bout you?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments


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