Every opportunity is flawed

How often have you been drawn to an opportunity, only to let it go when you notice a flaw? It feels reasonable to not waste resources on a bad bet. But what if every opportunity is flawed?

Most opportunities have obvious flaws. The rest have flaws too, you just may not see them yet. If this is true, do you want to be the type who’s quick to let go of a flawed opportunity? Wouldn’t that severely limit you?

Of course it doesn’t make sense to just ignore all flaws. Our risk-detection is there to protect us and it’s very useful for that. But perhaps it’s worth dialing it down. The presence of flaws shouldn’t be a deal-breaker - it’s just normal.

Severe flaws

Even severe flaws shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. The founders of Airbnb took a severely flawed opportunity. In retrospect it seems like a great opportunity because it worked out so well. But if you went back in time and heard that idea, you could write a list of valid flaws a mile long.

So if we decide not to judge an opportunity on the presence or severity of its flaws, then what can we judge it on?

Judging if an opportunity is worth taking

I don’t think there is a universal “right” answer here, but I’ll share what makes sense to me:

An opportunity is worth taking when:

  1. If it works out, you would probably be satisfied with the outcome.

That sounds obvious, but sometimes we pursue opportunities we don’t actually want. Also, you don’t have to be totally certain that you’ll be satisfied with the outcome, because you can never really these things in advance. “Probably” is good enough.

  1. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be OK.

That means not putting too much at risk. Taking small and risk-free opportunities freely, but being more careful when there’s a lot on the line.

Lots of opportunities

Those requirements aren’t very picky. You could take many opportunities every day when judging based on them. And that’s the point. Opportunities are more than what they seem at face value. They set off chain reactions of serendipity that you could never expect. And the more opportunities you take, the more it will play out in your favor.

So I say don’t let flawed opportunities pass you by.

I might send a newsletter sometime.