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The heart of tech

This article was published on September 7, 2014

    100 entrepreneurs walk into a dark forest…

    100 entrepreneurs walk into a dark forest…
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    Founder & board member, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    Taking risk is an important part of being an entrepreneur. We all know and respect that. But there’s a difference between acceptable and calculated risk and just blindly putting everything on red.

    What works in one situation, for a particular team, in a particular industry, might not work for you. This seems to be lost on a lot of people, who take successful entrepreneurs and try to emulate them.

    I heard Daniel Ropers, the CEO of Bol.com explain this very well. He told an audience that it’s like sending 100 entrepreneurs into a pitch black forest with the objective of finding the exit. They would take a lot of risk by running into the forest totally blind, and of course one of them will make it out of the forest without hitting any trees.

    We have a tendency to take this one entrepreneur and ask her how she did it, to try to learn from that. She’ll explain how she turned left after ten meters because it felt like the right thing to do, and we will be taking notes. Maybe we should go left too after ten meters? It worked for her, right?

    With that we ignore the fact that the forest is littered with entrepreneurs who took the same amount of risk but did bump into trees. Making it out of the dark forest is not always the result of a smart strategy and we should be aware of this when we ask successful entrepreneur about their road to succes.