One of the best business books of the last decade is Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup”. A great guy, we had dinner with him at SXSW a few years ago.
Eric’s philosophy is about businesses startups not as places of commerce to start with, but more as ever-iterating learning machines. The more you iterate, the more you learn, the more you learn, the more you grow (both literally and figuratively).
This, as opposed to say, cashing the VC check and praying you get an exit before you run out of runway.
The thing is, when you start your business, not only do you not know know if your business will succeed or not, you don’t know WHY it succeeds or not.
What was the real reason? Was it because you had a great price? Or was it because you got lucky and found a great team far more easily than the usual startup? Who knows? Does anybody? Sure, Leo Burnett had a global winner with its Marlboro Man cowboy, but they had messed around with it for 7 or 8 years before it got any real traction. But it was never obvious.
Like they say, everything is obvious in retrospect, everything is fait accompli. But when looking at it in the present tense, it’s a lot murkier. You may not have perfect information, but you can perfect the way you get information, faster than the next guy. Rock on.