Ben Brostoff

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21 Mar 2021
Curious, Not Judgmental. Maker, Not Commenter

A mentor of mine at work recently shared these two articles with me which I’ve since re-read a few times apiece:

I don’t have anything to add other than that exercising curiousity over judgment and making over commenting requires constant vigilance.

Talking is easier than listening. Commenting is easier than making. I am guilty of falling into both these habits in part because they are easy, but also because they feel helpful.

Sharing an opinion often seems like it is value add, but I think in nearly every scenario listening first and asking questions driven by genuine curiousity adds more value. Listening adds more value because it can eliminate uninformed opinions before they’re expressed (ex. if I listen and find out a project needs to be live by date X and today is date Y, any suggestions that will take longer than X - Y need adjusting).

Better yet, making things I believe drives better questions and comments. Only in the position of making stuff are you forced to have extreme attention to detail, since you’re accountable for how the things you made perform.

I think being vigilant on these two concepts on my end will require thinking before speaking:

  • What questions do I have that will help me understand the subject at hand better? What do I want to know more about that will help me build useful things?
  • Am I commenting or offering ideas I could help execute on that will help the making process?

Be curious, not judgmental. Be a maker, not a commenter.


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