Thinking about thinking

Many of my conversations somehow touch upon the topic of RISK… Starting a business is super scary – I’m the first to admit it – and you probably need to be both crazy and naïve. The challenge in a maturing startup ecosystem is for investors and entrepreneurs to learn how to handle and not necessarily to mitigate risk (financial, structural, emotional and social risk). I can hear my sensible mother: Are you Crazy? And the stats prove that we are a little naïve in our quests to start businesses; 50% disaster, 40% good stuff and 10% Super Star Success. That’s what it’s all about – high risk and potentially high return. If… you work 24/7, have a great idea, can build a passionate team, if you are patient AND you’ll need the magic ingredient Luck. And lets face it is addictive and thrilling.

One of my high lights yesterday was visiting the Qatar Foundation and Carnegie Mellon University. Serial entrepreneur, angel investor and Ph. D. Associate Professor, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Maher Hakim is brilliant and we had a great brain storming session on how to move the needle in Qatar and support cool entrepreneurs to find funding. I’m convinced there are great opportunities in working with the investment community to better understand the needs and fears of startups… Basically you can’t expect immediate revenue, it is hard work for everybody involved and you are doing your self a disfavour by trying to mitigating risk. Manage it instead. I know, easy to say.

Driving out of QF I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the big neon signs on campus; Innovate, Achieve, Think etc. From a risk perspective, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry and you might as well remind everybody what they are there to do…. I’m going to THINK, that’s for sure. And maybe I should do my thinking in the Genious Room? Worrying that it was empty, but maybe the naive and crazy geniuses are enjoying Babaganouch somewhere?

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