Monday, September 21, 2009

Entrepreneur-As-Risk-Taker Story Debunked -- AGAIN

You may have read my more recent post about how employment is a higher risk endeavor than entrepreneurship. I received a few direct comments about this post, including one that claimed I got the risk-taker attitude of entrepreneurs mis-matched.

The argument was that an entrepreneur is more like the poker player since he's taking risks AND he has skin in the game, in the form of the money he uses to make bets. However, an engineer only weighs options. I agree the entrepreneur has skin in the game. Nevertheless, I hold firm that his risk taking is not so much based on luck, as in a poker gambler.

A modified analogy is that an entrepreneur takes calculated risks weighing the pros and cons of a situation, as an engineer, but puts his own skin in the game like a gambler or investor. He understands the risks and often mitigates them. Mitigating risks doesn't equate to only one option: taking risks. Rather, it's a decision-making process that requires a person to choose how to respond to the risk. This means he weighs whether the risks can be avoided, environment factors changed to reduce risk, or the endeavor abandoned since the risk is too great.

As a compliment to this thought, I found an interesting blog entry today. I was surfing on Tim Ferriss' blog and the website to his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, when I found a post about another book, Leap, where apparently the author's main argument is that entrepreneurs are NOT high risk takers, but rather risk mitigators. In fact, the example used in the blog is that of Bill Gates. I highly recommend reading Tim's blog on the subject.

The point is that an entrepreneur may take risks, but seldom high risks and often after weighing the severity of and options on how to deal with each risk. In other words, no matter what's your risk tolerance level, there's a way for you to be an entrepreneur.

So, what are you waiting for?