Startups and knowing

If you know that you don’t know something, you don’t act on it. As a result there’s no danger to you or the people who would be impacted by your actions if you were to take them.

If you know that you know something, you act on it. And since you know, in expectancy you produce a positive outcome for yourself and those around you.

The danger is when you know just enough to think you know something, without actually knowing enough. Because you think you know something, you act on it. But because you actually don’t know enough, in expectancy you produce a negative outcome for yourself and those around you.

Since they hold the potential for very large upside but also carry a lot of uncertainty at the surface, startups attract a lot of people who think they know something without actually knowing it. This is true for entrepreneurs, investors, LP’s, and many other groups of constituents.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that you don’t need to actually know something to convince someone. You simply need to know more than the person you’re trying to convince. So startups also attract a lot of people who know that they don’t know something but act like they do because they know that those around them know less.

When working with startups, you need to pay attention to act on what you know and not act on what you don’t. You also need to watch out for people who think they know but actually don’t and people who don’t know but act like they do.


Also published on Medium.