Introverts often get a bad rap, especially in entrepreneurship. Investors, employees and vendors who provide goods and services at a discount to startups are attracted to people who have the gift of gab. Even our work environment has been optimized for extroverts. Open space design, for example, has been heralded for optimizing collaboration and nurturing a strong culture while saving on rent.
While that sounds smart on the surface, it’s a shame when you consider that one-third to half the population are introverts, according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Introverts do their their best work in quiet. Introverts are just as likely to contribute to a company’s success, but they need an environment with fewer distractions. In quiet spaces, we can listen to our own thoughts and that can be very productive, even for extroverts.