Monday, November 14, 2005

Blessed are the naysayers

In over thirty years in business I guess I've owned around a dozen companies. Most of them have been reasonably successful. Today I'm down to six. A couple of them make pretty good money and one is expanding round the world at a dizzying rate. The remainder put bread on my table. So I guess I'm doing something right.

In all that time whenever I've consulted the professionals - lawyers, accountants, bankers - they've always given me a load of reasons why my ideas will never work. This negativity seems to be endemic in Scotland.

So when I reveal my big idea for Read On Demand, do me one favour, will you? Pause for a moment before you shoot the idea down in flames.



  1. A. Nonny-Mouse5:32 pm

    It's probably fair to say that lawyers, accountants and bankers are not characteristically stupid or malignant.

    Their frequent negativity when confronted with a bold new idea is probably based on a secure knowledge of percentages: 'I know of five cases in which someone has tried something like this, and it's failed in four of them.'

    The negative attitude of publishers to their slush pile is, I think, a different phenomenon. Virtually all slush-pile submissions are dreadful, and they find that panning for gold just isn't worth their while.

    Sadly, I can't see this changing, so if you've got a serious idea on how to circumvent the system, let's hear it. At the very least, I'll promise you a considered response.

  2. Hey, nonny, I didn't say that lawyers, accountants and bankers are stupid or malignant. Certainly not malignant, anyway.

    Very few of them have the vision of an entrepreneur and all of them are risk-averse.

    I'm not critising them for these characteristics. That's why they are what they are. Just don't expect any creative input or support from them.

    The funny thing is, the majority of the start-ups they do back go bust. The figures are disputed for political reasons but there's plenty of research to show tha 80% of start-ups fold within five years. Usually, I believe, because of bad management.