Embrace risk, avoid ruin

Take bets, but never take a bet where the downside is ruin. The only good bets are where the downside is acceptable. That’s why debt is so dangerous. Unlimited downside. Embrace risk, avoid ruin.

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Being right or wrong is not important

What’s important is how much you make when you’re right, and how much you lose when you’re wrong. So instead of putting all your energy into being right (and never being wrong), rather put your energy into ensuring your upside is maximised and your downside is limited. Being right or wrong is not important.

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Some lessons can’t be learnt in a textbook

They need to be experienced. So get out there and get into the game. Start a business. Find a customer. Hire an employee. Move! That’s the only way to learn.

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Keep your commitments

You’ve made a promise to play golf with colleagues. You’re on hole number eight and you get a call. The Dalai Lama has popped into your office for a visit, if you get back within thirty minutes you can have a cuppa tea. What do you do? Drop the golf? Or miss the possible once-in-lifetime…

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If you want it, ask for it

It can be difficult being direct. Ego, politics, unseen dynamics, all conspire to you having to be diplomatic and indirect in your tactics. Fair enough, that’s the game. If you want to play the game you have to play by the rules. But sometimes there’s no time for the rules. Sometimes the slow game cause…

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Silence can be golden

In the chaos of startup-life, it’s easy to get caught in the pattern of constantly selling. Persuading, convincing, talking talking talking. Don’t. It’s important to be engaged and seem friendly, but too much talking can do more harm than good. It makes you come across as trying too hard. If there is nothing to say,…

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Watch for what makes people come alive

You have an employee. You like him, he has potential, he has ambition. So you keep throwing opportunities at him, waiting for him to grab one. But he doesn’t. It’s not because he’s not a star, it’s because you don’t know what makes him come alive. Stars only get energised by doing stuff that makes…

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Work for people that treat you well

Very few entrepreneurs don’t have a “boss”. Investors, banks, big customers, regulators. They might not sign your pay-cheque, but you have to listen to them. So choose them well. Don’t opt for a life where the people you’re forced listen to don’t treat you with respect. She knows and you know that she’s the boss,…

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Commit 100%

Not just to your business. Not just to your life. Not just your spouse. To EVERYTHING. To every single decision, every single action. That’s the only way to maximise your odds of success and minimise regrets. Don’t leave anything on the field. Commit 100%.

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