Chapter 42. Have a Bias Toward Action

Ben Casnocha

Have a Bias Toward Action

Ben is an entrepreneur and author of the book My Startup Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley. He has been a TechStars mentor since 2007.

Learning experts agree that learning by doing is the best way to learn something. When you do something—when you pick up the phone and talk to a potential customer, launch a prototype, send out the first brochure—you learn infinitely more than if you think about doing it in the abstract. The best way to test the validity of a business idea, for example, is to start the business and quickly gauge market feedback.

The best entrepreneurs have internalized learn-by-doing to the bone. As my friend Josh Newman says, there are only two steps to entrepreneurship: start, and keep going—and you lose most people at the first step. That's because talk is easy. Writing business plans is easy. Chatting about your business idea with friends at a party is easy. Taking an action—starting, doing—is hard.

It's hard because when you take an action, it may turn out to have been the wrong action. Fine. When you have a bias toward action, it means you are constantly making decisions, and some of those decisions will surely have bad outcomes. But good decisions can have bad outcomes. Intel founder Andy Grove says the key to business success is to make lots of decisions and correct course ...

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