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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

Where's the safety net?

I presented my vision and strategy for the project I'm currently working on and the problem I'm trying to solve for the company and for my users, and it was all about doubling down on a handful of approaches towards solving the problem and validating each of those quickly and deciding to scale one of the solutions or to go back to the drawing board.

There was good reception all around, and the first question I received was, "Where's the safety net?"

All these are bold new ideas that fall in the high-risk/high-reward quadrant. But that's only when you look at not having something successful to show at the end of the execution phase as a risk. In terms of other aspects - time, money, morale, etc - the risk is quite low in seeing this through. Which to me puts these ideas in the low-risk/high-reward quadrant.

"Where's the safety net?" is the question that many people would ask in such a scenario. And that is precisely the reason many people also end up in a state of inaction. I have been in that position myself several times before and have been learning to see and evaluate things in a new perspective.

We tend to associate a high risk to ideas and projects (in real life and at work) when that high risk is only derived from the fear of being seen as a failure.

True, there are many many people embarking upon new ideas and new projects everyday and probabilistically, a tiny percentage of them will see success in their first attempt. If we fail to be in that tiny percentage of people, naturally someone looking in from the outside will see that tiny percentage of people as successful winners and the rest of us in the majority as failures and prefer to pick them for the next big thing. This is what everyone from managers to investors to publishers do.

But, by not embarking on our idea, we don't even give ourselves that tiny probability of seeing success.

It is easy to think that we can do something half-assed that doesn't have a great upside nor a great downside and just slide along under the radar without putting ourselves in the spotlight and wait until we find an opportunity that comes along where we have a greater chance of succeeding.

But that opportunity never comes along.

Only when we try and try will we increase our chances of finding something that we will succeed at, both probabilistically and through the learnings we gain by failing the first time around.

Will I fail or succeed with my new ideas? I don't know. But by doing them, I'll learn something for sure.

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