24 Jun 2009

Those who risk the most are more likely to succeed

6 Comments people management

British Red CoatWe fire a lot of people in our company.  I’ve noticed that those who have risked to most to join us are the ones most likely to succeed.  Ironic, since you’d think that people who take the “safe” route– work part-time to hold their current job or not move out to Colorado– have less risk.

Or perhaps you’d say that folks who decided to quit their current job and move out here were folks already confident in their skills– thus, it’s not a fair comparison.  Well, turns out that the folks who did come here were not necessarily more skillful or even guaranteed anything.  Nor is it true that this self-selects for folks who are unemployed and have nothing to lose.

I think the explanation is as simple as– those who have something on the line know they have to commit. A few hundred years ago, British soldiers wore bright red and white uniforms.  You’d think that camouflage would be a smarter choice, since the British soldiers stood out like targets.  If you’re dressed so visibly, then you have to commit to fighting once you’re out there on the field.

Put all your eggs in one basket– and watch that basket! The safety of stock market diversification is that you can spread your investments across many stocks.  Safer, right?  But what if you’re really done your research and you know what companies are going to succeed?  Diversification is for unquantified risk.  In the start-up world, would you rather own one company that just kills it or 10 companies that almost made it?

So don’t go the “safe” route– go for it!  Stand in the middle of the road and you’ll get run over.

Are you frittering your time away on something “safe” or perhaps spreading your time thin over 10 different things?

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Dennis Yu is the CTO of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.
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