Entrepreneur-As-Risk-Taker Story Debunked — AGAIN
Entrepreneur-As-Risk-Taker Story Debunked — AGAIN

Entrepreneur-As-Risk-Taker Story Debunked — AGAIN

You may have read my more recent post about how employment is a higher risk endeavor than entrepreneurship. I received a few direct comments about this post, including one that claimed I got the risk-taker attitude of entrepreneurs mis-matched.

The argument was that an entrepreneur is more like the poker player since he’s taking risks AND he has skin in the game, in the form of the money he uses to make bets. However, an engineer only weighs options. I agree the entrepreneur has skin in the game. Nevertheless, I hold firm that his risk taking is not so much based on luck, as in a poker gambler.

A modified analogy is that an entrepreneur takes calculated risks weighing the pros and cons of a situation, as an engineer, but puts his own skin in the game like a gambler or investor. He understands the risks and often mitigates them. Mitigating risks doesn’t equate to only one option: taking risks. Rather, it’s a decision-making process that requires a person to choose how to respond to the risk. This means he weighs whether the risks can be avoided, environment factors changed to reduce risk, or the endeavor abandoned since the risk is too great.

As a compliment to this thought, I found an interesting blog entry today. I was surfing on Tim Ferriss’ blog and the website to his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, when I found a post about another book, Leap, where apparently the author’s main argument is that entrepreneurs are NOT high risk takers, but rather risk mitigators. In fact, the example used in the blog is that of Bill Gates. I highly recommend reading Tim’s blog on the subject.

The point is that an entrepreneur may take risks, but seldom high risks and often after weighing the severity of and options on how to deal with each risk. In other words, no matter what’s your risk tolerance level, there’s a way for you to be an entrepreneur.

So, what are you waiting for?


  1. GolferNewb

    Hmmmm, I think that a poker player also weighs the risks he is taking and mitigates while taking into consideration several factors at the table. Personally I see poker as not just playing with lady luck, but also heavy thought as to the mitigated risk of the remaining cards, players knowledge, odds/percentages, etc very much the same as an entrepreneur. With respect to the employment aspect, I see it much more a leveraging of your personal goals and what you make of the job at hand. Be social? Be a worker bee with your head down? Kiss ass? Manage upward? IMO the qualitative side of coin. Entrepreneurship/poker – leaning more towards qualitative.

  2. Unknown


    You make a very good point. In the end, any process that involves risk and risk mitigation can be compared to Entrepreneurship.

    The crux of the conversation is that you're not taking blind risk as an entrepreneur. The blind risk aspect is what many wrongfully equate to entrepreneurship.

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

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