The title of the post is the first line in a (likely misquoted) quote:
It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble.(maybe) Mark Twain, but probably not.
It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So.
This quote shows up in The Big Short book and in the opening of The Big Short movie. It fits that story, as well as startup life. It reminds me of an old Fred Wilson blog post: Strong Ideas, Loosely Held.
Strong ideas strongly held is a mistake most entrepreneurs make. They believe something true without questioning (a) how they know the truth, (b) whether there are hidden assumptions in their reasoning, and (c) why no one else has seen this truth before them.
Last year while on my trip across East Africa, I asked Geoffrey why he started two companies, each working with over 50 neighboring farmers. Why was he the founder instead of any of them? Why two companies, when any of them could have seen the success from the first? His answer was wonderful:
They all see solutions and think them impossible.Geoffrey Okoth Yoga
I just make them happen.
This is a somewhat of a riff on Nelson Mandela’s famous line:
It always seems impossible until it’s done.Nelson Mandela
In the path from impossible to reality, people call you crazy. And you are. In the failed efforts, from impossible to couldn’t be done, often that failure is being too stubborn in your beliefs. In the successful efforts, the path from impossible to done wanders from one impossibility to the next, and often the only way forward is to give up something you once thought true.