The Quick and The Dead Entrepreneurs

"In the army, when they trained us on hand-to-hand fighting with knives - they said 'There are two types of soldiers: the Quick and the Dead'"

My informant spoke from experience of being trained to live & to kill. He'd been a trained soldier.

It's the same in business.

There are two types of entrepreneurs: the Quick & the Dead.

  • Those who perfect their idea, business plan, product, team & market intelligence
  • Those who make something fast that's good enough to win some first customers & are "shit hot" nimble

[If you want to read a whole book (that's made a fortune for its author) - buy The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss. You may not need to read more than three chapters - or you may feel compelled to have all the evidence (read the whole book).]

The Quick and the Dead in action are two different animals. 
One will be overtaken by

  • inferior technology
  • less thorough people
  • hungrier people
  • smarter people.

They will have the satisfaction that they have the better product, system, service.  They will join the long list of brilliant concepts that were outflanked by less worthy people. They will be the ones that almost made it. They will be written up in books about tragic failures.

Hopefully, some of them will learn to be Quick next time. But unfortunately for most, the "be perfect" personalities will mainly remain Dead.

  • Out of the blue, comes an unexpected opportunity to enter a market you weren't ready for...
  • From left field, comes a potential investor with new contacts you didn't expect...
  • By accident, your invention can be used in a field you never imagined existed...

You die or you live.
You may never get another chance. You risk going for it - or you miss the best chance you'll ever get.

You need one quality. Without it - you are dead in the water.

You don't need to be a nice person. Nor a fully informed person.

You simply have to be a risk taker.

Not afraid of the unknown.

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss..."

- Kipling

You don't have time to manage the risk into oblivion.

Strike or be struck.

Knife or be knifed.

The entrepreneur who survives takes the scary decision.  Risks all.

This is a mindset, a personality type, a characteristic.

Only by failure can it be learned.