Why the CEO of this startup that raised $105 million tells every intern to disagree with him

Victor ho fivestars
FiveStars CEO Victor Ho FiveStars

Victor Ho is the CEO of FiveStars, a company that helps small businesses offer loyalty reward programs more effectively.

Since its founding in 2011, FiveStars has raised $105 million in funding from a star list of investors including Social Capital, Menlo Ventures, and Y Combinator.

But perhaps what makes FiveStars more interesting is Ho’s unique background. After spending years at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, he was close to landing a job at a top private equity firm, his parent’s dream. But while waiting for his delayed flight at the airport, Ho had a last minute change of heart and pulled out of the interview process — instead going on to launch FiveStars.

Still, Ho tries to apply some of the learnings he picked up from working in the finance sector to his current startup, according to an interview with the NY Times’ Adam Bryant.

One of them is a lesson he learned at McKinsey, called the “obligation to dissent.” He basically tells interns and new hires to disagree with him because he believes they are the best ones to offer fresh perspectives about the company.

He says:

“But the strongest lesson I learned at McKinsey that I now share with every single new hire is what they call the ‘obligation to dissent.’ It means that the youngest, most junior person in any given meeting is the most capable to disagree with the most senior person in the room.

So if I hire an intern, that intern is the most qualified person in the company to say, ‘Victor, I heard this was your mission, your values, and these things are off.’ That’s just because the more removed you are, the less you drink the Kool-Aid. You have a fresh perspective.”

You can read the full NY Times interview here>>

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