3-2-1 Traction: Venture studios, hidden risk, and the beginner’s mind
Also: the glorification of ideas, foolish opinions, and a question to help you bias toward action.
Hey friend 👋
Thank you for once again kicking your week off with me!
Over the next few weeks, I'll be making some changes to this email. Much will stay the same: 3-2-1, Monday mornings, completely free.
But keep a look out for new things coming your way — I'm excited to share them!
3 ideas from me
We say “that’s a good idea” knowing that without validation it’s not a good idea — yet. Because that’s the only way we can know.
The problem with good versus bad is that it leads us to protect ideas, which creates vulnerability, which prevents us from validating. It’s counterproductive.
What we mean is that what we heard, through our own idiosyncratic mental formations, was a pretty idea. We liked it; it tickled us; and we’re ok taking the next step.
Stop glorifying the idea. Next time you’re moved to say it’s a good idea, say instead it’s an idea worth testing.
In the beginning of our journey, entrepreneurship is just solving a customer's problem for money.
As we add tools, knowledge, and experience, it becomes “so much more”: business model canvases, networking, pitch decks, accelerators, and the like.
But, as we master the process, entrepreneurship once again becomes just solving a customer’s problem for money.
Never lose sight of the profundity of the grounded centre: founder’s mind, beginner’s mind.
As entrepreneurs, we’re good at evaluating active risks — those caused by the actions we take — but we too often neglect to evaluate passive risks — those caused by inaction.
It's a paradox: we often do nothing because we're afraid of the risk of doing the something, even though doing something is often less risky than doing nothing.
When in doubt, have a bias toward action.
2 ideas from others
If the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation yourself.
If an opinion contrary to your own makes you angry, that is a sign that you are subconsciously aware of having no good reason for thinking as you do.
A good way of ridding yourself of certain kinds of dogmatism is to become aware of opinions held in social circles different from your own.
— Bertrand Russell, On Avoiding Foolish Opinions
He could just as easily be talking about customer discovery.
Most venture studios create and launch several startups each year. These have a greater success rate… because unlike accelerators, which operate on a six- to 12-week cadence, studios don’t have a set timeframe. Instead, they search and pivot until product/market fit is found. Unlike an accelerator or a VC firm, a venture studio kills most of their ideas that can’t find traction and won’t launch a startup if they can’t find evidence that it can be a scalable and profitable company.
— Steve Blank, Is a Venture Studio Right for You?
Funny how that works, huh?
1 question for you
What is one passive risk in your startup — or life — that you've unwittingly accepted?
What active risk are you willing to trade it for?
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