tl;dr Arrogance is about playing that overoptimistic game, it could be essential.
We are tired of arrogant people when it comes to the point that they are in complete reality denial and believe that they will bend the world to their will thanks to their super power and that others are always wrong. However I do believe that a little arrogance may help to sell your ideas.
Let's be clear about the rational approach around entrepreneurship: your chances of failure are very high. Of course, you think you are smart, skilled and hard working, you may be. But the truth is that being 100% smart, 100% skilled and 100% hard working may:
- Not be possible
- Not be enough
The amount of money you make through your ideas is not just a function of the above. And if you have doubt about this statement, take an hour or two to formulate hypothesis about why Angry Birds and Flappy Bird have been such huge successes and try to find some apps matching your hypothesis but not the success on the Play Store or App Store after a few searches.
Let's admit it:
- We are not perfect
- Our ideas rely on a bit of luck
- Success is highly improbable; in most case unexpected
While knowing the above after a cold analysis, this is a very poor background to keep in mind to lead a project. You will not get people involved by telling them this "vision". Investors, partners or other stakeholders will run away. Eventually that would alter your motivation.
Worst, when you say something you are seen as one member of these over enthusiastic people, they know you are selling your ideas.
And the best thing to overcome this, is to be optimistic, to forget about rationality and maybe reach the point of arrogance. That's not lying or being fake, that's being motivational and conveying your idea. People don't expect you to present them the worst or the average case, you are here to present them a dream to share. To take a formula from the brilliant (yet not very motivational) Wired "No Exit": "you do have to balance transparency with optimism."
Arrogance will just be a problem when it will be a blindfold.