“Most people don’t understand how to handle uncertainty. They shy away from small risks, and without realizing it, they embrace the big, big risk. Businessmen who are consistently successful have the exact opposite attitude: Make all the mistakes you want, just make sure you’re going to be there tomorrow.”
Taleb is talking about traders who blow up. But I see wisdom here for my business as well.
For us, the small risk is investing in one's own projects. It can be quite costly to develop a product, create a commercial for that product and then fund the market testing. Since only about one in 10 projets succeed (industry-wide), there is a definite risk of losing one's money here, and the losses can mount up quickly.
However, these are the small risks in the grand scheme of things. The big money comes when projects succeed and roll out nationally. Getting a fair deal and a meaningful chunk of the profits requires having the leverage of a tested project you fully own. The timid — those who avoid the small risks of self-funding and sell-in early — get bad deals and miss out on the kind of brand equity that pays dividends for years to come.