[FoRK] Capitalism's Fatal Flaw

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Sun Nov 8 08:08:58 PST 2009

Geege writes, based on her extensive experience and expertise in the  
fields of tech entrepreneurship and venture capital:

> I would tend to include [avoidance of failure] as part of success,  
> not as something separate. Luck my ass.

It is true that [avoidance of failure] is *necessary* to success.  Not  
sure why you might think I was indicating otherwise, that was sort of  
the whole point.

However, it's important recognize and understand the *severe* limits  
to the amount of control an entrepreneur can exercise to effect  
[avoidance of failure].

By "luck" I really mean that most startups run into a large number of  
rather random or at least historically path-dependent events, to which  
important folks other than the founders react, and which reactions  
largely determine the success or failure of the company.  It is *not  
enough* to have a good idea, to obtain funding, and to execute well.   
Those are all absolutely necessary, but far from sufficient;  the  
eventual outcomes are determined largely by externalities and the all- 
too-human reactions to them by folks on which the entrepreneur depends  
but has very little influence.

One such common chains-of-events, of my favorite ones, goes something  
like this.   You're running on fumes and in the middle of trying to  
close your next round the lead VC says:  "hey, I have this buddy Joe  
that just left SomeOtherCo, he'd make an outstanding VP of Sales for  
you..."  ;-)

$0.02 and IME.


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