While revamping the initial set of Disrupt Disruption interview recordings (longer story — we are writing a book on disruption and are interviewing a bunch of leaders in the space) I was reminded of a story Chris Yeh, the co-author of the bestselling book Blitzscaling, told me. The insight originated from our friend and Google X co-founder Tom Chi and goes like this:
Let’s say I ask you to play a simple game: Take a six-sided dice and roll it. If you come up with a six, you win: Your startup or innovation initiative succeeds — you have an exit or get that bonus and a promotion. Anything else and you fail, lose the startup or initiative, and find yourself either in some debt or with a stalled career. Would you play the game? And would you play the game if the dice has not six but 100 sides and only if you come up with a 100 you win?
Realistically these are the odds you face when you embark on your entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial journey. We don’t like to talk about this all that much — as the reality of succeeding is grim. Which brings up two important questions:
What does it take to make this endeavor worth it for you?
How do you get more rolls of the dice?
The first question is one I urge you to ponder and answer. I have seen too many people embark on their journey just to realize late in the game that the reward they reaped wasn’t aligned with their (implicit) expectation.
The second question is one of breaking your project down into small, quickly testable hypothesis — aiming to test your assumptions in the least amount of time, and with the least amount of resources. Which buys you more rolls with the dice — instead of one big roll, you do tens or even hundreds of small ones.
Now go and roll that dice!