Entrepreneurship is NOT like a rollercoaster

Strapping into my test-craft on a Monday morning

gk on January 23, 2012 in Entrepreneurship About a 1 minute read.

I love analogies -- I really do. I probably rely on them far too much to convey and even analyze concepts. Everyone knows the old adage that all analogies limp -- they are always imperfect representations. Often these imperfections are themselves revealing, but sometimes they are downright misleading.

Here's one you hear all the time in some form or another: 'Entrepreneurship is like a roller-coaster'. Superficially, sure I get the point.... emotional highs and lows; ups and downs; twists and turns. But the truth is that entrepreneurship is NOTHING like a roller-coaster. In terms of the emotional volatility that the analogy is meant to convey, the sometimes used comparison of entrepreneurship to a passionate romantic relationship is better.

So you wanna be an entrepreneur?

The entrepreneurship as roller-coaster analogy fails on every level. On even the craziest roller-coaster, you get to see what's coming. You are safe even if you don't feel safe. Roller-coasters are fun, but never fulfilling or gratifying.

A better analogy is that being an entrepreneur is like being a test pilot, for an aircraft no one has ever seen before, that you are designing and building and repairing, while you fly it 30,000 feet up. There are thrills and excitement aplenty. But unlike any amusement ride, there is also the very real possibility that you could go right off the rails at any second. There is also the possibility for enormous gratification if you pull off the flight.

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