This is the third in a series of blogs featuring the Indianapolis venture community, written by Evening MBA student Katie Wilson, MBA’20.
After months and months, I finally made it to a meeting of the Venture Club of Indiana. It was a meeting I couldn’t miss, as the event featured very special speakers, Kelley’s very own professors,Todd Saxton and Kim Saxton.
Sharing key concepts from the new book they co-authored with Michael Cloran, The Titanic Effect: Successfully Navigating the Uncertainties that Sink Most Startups, Todd and Kim took us on a swim of the four major “oceans” that need to be navigated when building a startup.
They shared the spotlight with Jeff Ready, CEO of Scale Computing, who told candid stories of his own journey navigating the waters of starting a business — or in his case, multiple businesses.
My biggest take away from the presentation was something I’ve been struggling with since beginning this journey to get involved with the venture community.
How do these entrepreneurs do it? How do they take on all that risk with no assurance of a reward at the end? Being a fairly risk-adverse person, I’ve struggled with understanding how one can put all their eggs in one basket, go out on a limb, roll the dice and all the other idioms that go with taking what I considered a huge risk when starting your own business.
Finally, Todd Saxton and Kim Saxton helped me figure it out: Being an entrepreneur isn’t about being risky, it’s about being comfortable with uncertainty.
Some may say risk and uncertainty are the same thing. By definition, they most definitely are not.
According to the dictionary by Merriam-Webster:
Risk (noun): possibility of loss or injury
Uncertainty (noun): the quality or state of being uncertain [where uncertain is defined as not known beyond doubt]
Risk really takes on a negative connotation when it describes possible injury or loss. Not many sane people want to purposely put themselves in harm’s way. So by associating risk with new ventures, I was subconsciously putting a negative view towards these business opportunities.
I finally have seen the light. It isn’t about being risky, it’s about being uncertain.
Uncertainty is not a negative, on the contrary, it can really be quite positive. When there is uncertainty, there is room to grow, expand and learn. There is room to become certain. There is room for new ideas and new opportunities and, most of all, new ventures.