Thursday, November 14, 2013

Research and Entrepreneurship

As a former science teacher and student of the history of science I am fascinated at how often scientific truth is counter intuitive.  For centuries we failed to understand much about how the world works because we Aristotle's model of trusting our brains to figure things out without testing those assumptions through experimentation and data analysis.   Today, we drill those principles into our science students: hypotheses must be tested, reviewed, and verified.  They must constantly be re-tested and re-verified as new knowledge becomes available. 

After several decades of working in the entrepreneurial world I can say that what makes a good business idea can be just as counter-intuitive.  In my current roles I get to see a large number of business ideas go through the evaluation process.  Very often ideas that seemed the most likely to succeed ended up being marginally profitable, and ideas that seemed only marginally interesting turned out to be money printing machines.  That is why it is so important to do the work needed to research a new opportunity in a structured manner before proceeding.  While my years of experience have given me valuable intuition that I certainly take advantage of, I know how important it is to validate my ideas using a structured approach, and to be open to ideas that don't immediately resonate.