Pigs or Chicken? The Ham and Eggs Breakfast Story

Pig or ChickenNope. This is not a dietary advice nor is this a dissertation on eating habits.

This is a business thought, one that a would-be entrepreneur should heed in choosing a partner or an investor. Very much applicable for those who are intending to put up a relatively high-stake, high-risk venture.

I picked this up from a book I recently finished reading —“The New New Thing” by Michael Lewis. I wanted to get this book when it came out of the press in 2000. When it did, it became a New York Times Bestseller. When I was in Singapore last year, I saw the trade paperback reprint of the book. I thought of getting it, but had to hold myself back as it was much more expensive compared to getting a copy here in our good ole bookstores (yep, books come out cheaper here in the Philippines).

Anyway, to the gist of my post…

In the book “The New New Thing”, which was an account of Jim Clark’s celebrated life as a technology entrepreneur. Jim Clark is the legendary founder of three multi-billion dollar companies in Silicon Valley, namely: Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon. He is often regarded as the one person who “rewrote the rules of American Capitalism” and who is, thus, credited for making the Internet IPO boom possible in the 1990’s.

Clark had an uncanny ability to spot the new new thing out of the conceptual clutter. And as soon as he identifies an opportunity, he moves onto the task of building a business around such. His ideas are always radical, ambitious, and unheard of. As such, a business built on such ideas made the venture entirely risky as they are untested and have never been done before.

To which he offers this piece of advice — that is, an advice to those who wish to take on risky undertakings with the hope of eventually pulling it off and reap the windfall of high reward (that comes with any high-risk endeavors).

Clark liked to say that human beings, when they took risks, fell into one of two types, PIGS or CHICKENS.

“The difference between these two kinds of people is the difference between the pig and the chicken in the ham-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken is interested, the pig is committed. If you are going to do anything worth doing, you need a lot of pigs.”

Ham and Eggs Breakfast

In my personal experience, I’ve found this literally and figuratively true. It may be bad for your personal diet, but it will be very good for business.

And I’m very happy to say that we’ve already kicked the chicken out.


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