Saturday, January 10, 2009

To succeed as an entrepreneur, give up the illusion of control



If you want to succeed in this business, you need to give up the illusion of control.

The fact is, when you're trying to make money from innovation and new technologies, no one really knows what's going to happen.

Why did Hulu succeed where Joost failed? Two years ago, all the smart money (including Sequoia, who won a *bidding war* for the Joost Series A) was busy anointing Joost as the future of TV, while shoveling dirt on Hulu's grave.

Yet at the same time, those who fail to plan are planning to fail. You can't let chaos and unpredictability serve as excuses for laziness or self-indulgence. The entrepreneur who believes that he or she can succeed by making "gut" decisions is unlikely to see much success.*

Planning everything is wasteful and counterproductive, while planning nothing leaves you reliant on dumb luck. As an entrepreneur, you need to find a middle ground that works for his or her venture.**

* Exceptions always exist, but those folks rarely produce a second success.
** Alas, this is easy to say, hard to do. But if you are having trouble working out this balance, feel free to head over to AskTheHarvardMBA.com and drop me a line.

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