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Are you racing on skis or in a car? May 29, 2010

Posted by Bernard Lunn in Uncategorized.
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One of my ski racing heroes retired from skiing to try car racing. The theory was that he understood speed and how to compete.

The other race car competitors asked him to stop. “You are dangerous” they told him.

The problem was he was taking what had made him a great ski racer and applied that to car racing.

In a ski race, when he approached a turn going too fast, he could make the turn by a huge exercise of will and determination. Straining every muscle to the limit, he usually found that there was just a little bit more when needed.

That is what made him a great ski racer.

But when he applied that lesson to car racing, the tyres did not obey his will. They had limits of adhesion. And there was nothing he could do about it.

Crash!!

How does this apply to startup life?

A wise investor said about somebody, “he is a classic entrepreneur. He thinks he can walk through walls. That is great, but I hope he will listen”.

There are times when you can walk through walls. The wall is thin and you are tough. “Where there is will there is a way”.

There are other walls that will never yield and just give you bruises
and a headache.

Enterprise markets are like ski racing. The sales guys can walk through most walls. Consumer markets and SaaS are like car racing. No exercise of will can counteract wrong pricing or lousy user experience.

The great car racers know they are part of a team, like a surgeon in the operating room. “I need to go a bit quicker into that last S bend. What can we do?” The team looks at changes to tyres, steering or
whatever.

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