In Forbes, Ed Snider Center Director Rajshree Agarwal discusses why success requires a careful balance of can-do attitude and cold objectivity.
Most people see problems and complain. Entrepreneurs see opportunity and take action. They are doers, even in the face of opposition. In some ways they are like Evel Knievel, who saw the Snake River Canyon in 1974 and decided to launch himself across in a rocket-powered Skycycle. The highly publicized stunt failed spectacularly when the craft’s parachute deployed prematurely, but Knievel survived and continued his career.
He had grit, passion and determination that sometimes looked like stubbornness. One time, after breaking his pelvis in a failed motorcycle jump over 13 buses, Knievel refused a stretcher and hobbled away. “I walked in. I want to walk out,” he told the crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Entrepreneurs also stand up again after each crash. Yet the romantic notion of defiant optimists, who ignore naysayers and push through failure, is only half right. Success requires a can-do attitude, but also cold objectivity. Startup teams that stick the landing after a leap into the unknown tend to think like scientists as much as daredevils. They take risks, but in methodical ways.
As daredevils with a bias toward action, they start every project with a fail fast mentality. Rather than waiting until they fully develop their ideas, they move forward with minimal viable products. The mantra is pivot, pivot, pivot until a winning formula emerges. Business incubators that teach entrepreneurship call this the lean startup model. The idea is to gauge customer responses as you go, so you never have to crash into the Snake River with your entire investment smoldering in a heap on the rocks…Read more