Why Big Winners Pose a Serious Risk

Filmmakers are obsessed with blockbuster movies. Venture Capital firms only pay attention to potential billion-dollar companies.

There are endless examples of how people with money control where the focus goes. As a result, lower budget movies and smaller companies/entrepreneurs go unnoticed.

We even see this trend in academia with college admissions focusing on the 1% who score above 1400 on their SATs (and that 1% is only admitted at a 10% rate at the top 20 schools). The millions of students who matriculate at other schools and get a great education are frequently ignored. 

Does this formula produce the results we want? Or should there be more equality across the board?

I argue there is incredible potential in maximizing the results of more average opportunities and participants.

“Late Bloomers” and “Emotional Intelligence” are valuable alternatives to simply “winning” from cradle to grave.

I coach small startups who can achieve success and profitability by simply executing great ideas that provide a good living rather than constantly trying to “shoot the moon” and frequently failing.

Too often, we pass on moderate risk/gain opportunities in order to pursue high risk/gain alternatives that seldom pay off. For example, operational improvements that lower costs and increase effectiveness can be much more profitable than large risk marketing efforts.

We underestimate the importance of average people in our organizations that, by definition, make up the bulk of members. Participants who are experienced, well trained, committed, and passionate can be far more important than the recognition they receive.    

We need to stop our tunnel vision obsession with potential big winners and, instead, focus on our options and organizations as a whole. After a few spectacular failures like We Work which focused only on growth, some venture capital investors are taking steps toward this approach by adding profit potential to their criteria. Once we accept that this more open-minded way of thinking truly provides more opportunities, we see how much risk and loss is actually involved in only pursuing “big wins.”

Related: The Three Things That Can Set Your Business Apart