Baseball and Startups

You’ve heard the ‘startups are like baseball’ analogy 100 times. Maybe 1,000 times.

“How many of those companies would have had solid base hits exits if the venture investors had not been swinging for the fences?”

“To be a premier venture capitalist, one must hit a home run.”

“For every Google-type home run there are countless other startups that strike out”

I think it is a useful, but sometimes overused metaphor. But, the one thing that for me holds true, is that it is a statistical game. Hank Aaron did not hit a home run every time he was at bat. Tony Gwynn did not get a base hit every time. And, there was no way to predict when the home runs or base hits would come. They just got back in the batters box and tried again, even though they failed nearly 70% of the time.

There is no such thing as a guaranteed hit in a startup. It is a risky proposition, many times driven by the vagaries of marco economic conditions, technology disruptions, competitive forces beyond our control and simple fate.

How to get past this? Develop the skills to be a top entrepreneur and get up to bat as many times as you can.

(note this post originally appeared on the ventureLab blog on May 26, 2009)

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