Betting on Relationships

When I worked in institutional asset management, my managing director was very much an academic, and influenced the way I think about the world significantly--particularly around the nature of risk, uncertainty, and attribution of success. He always tried to look at things as a set of bets. You never knew exactly how your investments were going to turn out, but if you had a clear idea of what your bets were, you could at least manage where you were taking your risks.

In my life, I have a very clear bet on relationships. I know that I am relying on the strength of the bonds I have made with people to get me to the next level. Relationship bets often feel a little bit like insider trading--because its information you alone have about your experiences and information that give you any kind of certainty. Its certainly not public information, and it often appears sketchy or risky to depend on a relationship to come through.

On the contrary, that's something I feel comes through more often than not. Surrounding myself with good people through strong relationships has paid off for me time and time again, and I think its the one aspect of creating a business that entrepreneurs neglect most.

"Who's going to come through for you?" is something I want to ask most newbie entrepreneurs I meet. "Who is your friend in PR who will help pitch your story? Are your angels there for you when the money runs dry?" You can't necessarily put this into a business plan, but its as sure of an inside tip if there ever was one.