The funny thing about risk

is it can be justified in retrospect. Say aye if you heard this before –

“When I look back three years, it was a risk that has made all the difference.”

With all elements for a great narrative present –a warrior in distress, a challenge, a war and a triumph– it’s rather easy to be swooned by a decision and then directly match that risk to this success. Which, of course, is not always a one-to-one co-relation.

Yet, it’s completely valid for people to paint this mythical picture. Consider it an emotional reward for the shots they take. No wonder the safe keepers have fewer stories to tell.

Update, 28 November 2012:  I wrote this back in April and few risky decisions later, this seems much truer. 

Prestige is like a powerful magnet…

Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.

One becomes sharply aware, but without regret, of the limits of mutual understanding and consonance with other people. No doubt, such a person loses some of his innocence and unconcern; on the other hand, he is largely independent of the opinions, habits, and judgments of his fellows and avoids the temptation to build his inner equilibrium upon such insecure foundations.

Paul Graham

Breadth vs Depth?

In many ways, that’s the audacious essence of Leveraged Dabbler: achieving breadth AND depth – in steady state. But what does that mean Monday morning?

There is a time for breadth:
– Building new learning. Collecting new enablers. Meeting new people. For novelty.
– But breadth-only serial starters earn a poor reputation. There are only so many Founder roles and fellowships you can hold before people wonder what you’ve actually accomplished! At least one BITS student, Nishith, saw through the B/S, as you see in his description: I am not a Founder/Director/CEO/CTO/CFO, neither have I worked with an NGO empowering women or feeding hungry children. I can eat, breathe, code and fart. I can do the last two particularly well.

There is a time for depth:
– Leveraging your learning. Leveraging your enablers. Leveraging your people. For scale.
– But depth-only focused actors are sometimes not noticed. There are only so many people who understand what you are excited about!

You need both breadth and depth. Don’t waste time figuring out which one at any moment. Pick and go!

P.S. I’m on depth right now 🙂

When being an “expert” is harmful

The worst is when you’re an “expert” because then you’re even less likely to challenge your assumptions. As an “expert” you’ve devised your own laws about what makes your market different from other markets, and what makes your company unique. Even with prior experience, this knowledge based largely on feeling, not fact.

When being an “expert” is harmful