The scary word - "Again"

Women often joke that men find the word "again" to be terrifying in certain circumstances.

Repeat performances of the same quality are rare, yet investors will often back an entrepreneur that has succeeded in one venture in preference to a first timer or one that "failed". This suggests that they believe that the performance is repeatable or perhaps that successful ones are more likely to repeat their success. I've also had it suggested that investors prefer such entrepreneurs because it provides cover in case their venture fails i.e. saying I backed the founders of lastminute/skype versus a first timer won't land you in as much trouble.

Yet entrepreneurship is not a science. Ideas can fail to achieve traction or strategies be poorly executed. Sometimes successful ventures just got lucky.

In many ways it's no different from movies. If a film stars could guarantee hits, movie makers wouldn't have flops, but they do as the graph below shows.

I mention this only because in recent weeks, I've sat in a few meetings where I've heard people sharply inhale and adjust their posture when the entrepreneur has said it was their first attempt. It was almost as if this meant the venture was doomed. Worrying.

posted by John Wilson @ 6:56 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 8:47 AM, Blogger Hawkeye said...

Your comment here reminded me of the old saying that you get Old Pilots and you get Bold Pilots, but you don't get Old, Bold Pilots. What has this to do with your comment you ask? Simply this: If you always rely on entrepreneurs that have 'successful' track records then when those eventually die out (as they must, Death still being the only certainty in life, Taxes can be avoided), then you have no-one left who has a track record at all, because they have not been back previously. Once again we are into the exception that proves your general rule. Occasionally a new mind will come up with a surefire winner and will be doing so for the first time. The skill is in identifying sucj people early. That surely is what sorts the men from the boys in your industry?


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