In Defense Of A**holes

Avlesh Singh
3 min readDec 17, 2018


Pardon my French.

I recently met the CTO of a large Indian B2B company. He referred to his Director Sales as an a**hole. This post stems from that conversation.

Photo by Антон Воробьев on Unsplash

I used to be a Software Developer for a long part of my career. Then, WebEngage happened. Between Ankit (my co-founder) and I, one of us had to take up the dirty job of selling early on. I was the chosen one. My purist, highly opinionated and rather simple developer life was about to change. This was 7 years ago.

The world comprises two kinds of people.

There are creators
Life of a passionate creator is amazing. Days are full of excitement in trying to create something that just works. It doesn’t matter if anyone really needs what they created. The fact that nobody really cares until one creates something meaningful, gives meaning to a creator’s life. I have lived the life of a software creator. I loved every bit of it.

And, there are a**holes
Those people who do rather unimportant things for a living. They take someone else’s work, try to package it, or market it, or service it, or even worse, sell it. Nobody likes them, including the creators. There are many reasons why that’s the case. It usually starts with “why does the guy talk so much?

Did you ask that question at some point in your life?

During my stint at Burrp, I never understood why we hired Santosh Navlani in the first place. Why on earth did we even need a business development guy? It remained a mystery to me. If he didn’t join the rest of us for those evening bar gigs, I would have continued to question his existence. Sorry Santosh.

Back to a**holes...

When I started my sales and marketing “career” at WebEngage (yes, I am co-founder; please don’t judge me), I had no idea of what I was about to become. As they say, I’d turn into an a**hole. I started meeting people unlike me. Their jokes were very different. I showed no appreciation for those in the early years. Their choice of topic for discussion always seemed absurd to me. Some of these guys were nice and warm. Others were a**holes — like a vast majority of my developer friends from the past.

So, the problem with this species is that they do everything which is counter-intuitive to a purists’ idea of the universe. They are not welcome until they “fit in”. Imagine living a life with that burden!

In defense of a**holes, there’s a lot to learn from them..
They teach us the art of communication — because they talk a lot.
They teach us about the grey — because real world is not black & white.
They teach us about pride — they believe in your creation more than you do.
They teach us about taking the blame — for someone else’s fault.
They teach us about teamwork — most successful creators are solo performers.
They teach us about flexibility — with our opinions, actions & prejudices.

I have played deep on both side of the table to tell you this…
A**holes give us a window to the real world. It’d be such a waste to not learn from them. The world needs more a**holes. Just as much as it needs more creators.

Let people be and focus your efforts on either being a creator or an a**hole. Because, life is too short to waste running useless errands for someone else.

Until next 🙏