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Entrepreneurs are paranoid optimists

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • November 26, 2015

entrepreneur paranoid


You can’t start a business unless you have a fundamentally positive view of the future. You have to be the kind of person who believes everything will turn out ok in the end.


You must be the opposite of Malthusian.


But you must also be paranoid.


The only way everything will turn out ok in the end is if you’re constantly looking for imminent threats and neutralizing them.


Andy Grove wrote one of the best business books ever, Only the paranoid survive.


It tells the story of how he saved Intel in the face of massive industry disruptions.


He could see the incoming threats and knew he had two choices:


  1. Do nothing and have 100% chance of dying
  2. Change the business and have 50% of surviving


If you want to succeed as an entrepreneurs you must wake up every morning and think, “How can my business die today?”


Only once you’re sure there are no imminent threats on the horizon can you think of moving forward.


Be a paranoid optimist.