I have a confession to make. Every Monday since the season 7 of Game of Thrones started, I can only think of the show. I read all the articles and hunt for the next week’s preview, which I stop every second of it for a deeper analysis. Am I a bit crazy? Yes. I have no shame in admitting it. And after last night’s episode, I had the insight that entrepreneurship and game of thrones have a lot in common. In both games, so to speak, only a small percentage of people succeed. So what are the lessons we can learn with the reminiscent survivors?
1. Go big or don’t even bother
Ok, that might sound pretentious, but if we don’t start your endeavor with the intention of being something amazing, the chances are small it will succeed. I mean, I haven’t heard a story of any entrepreneur who thought ‘oh well, I am going to take a lot of risks by being an entrepreneur just to do an average business.’ I mean, that’s not at all the point of taking risks. In Game of Thrones, you can see that the characters that didn’t want to be there ended up in a tragic fate. At least most of them, Jon Snow is the only one I can think didn’t want to lead, but hey, he got killed anyway. In the real world, there is no fire witch to bring you back to life.
2. Have a mission
That’s an important one. I am reading the first book now and remembering some stuff. And one of the things I have been noticing is that the people who have the power but don’t know what do with get lazy, fat, mad and finally, dead. Even when you are established, remember to have a mission, a vision you can follow. That’s what keeps people, companies and even nations going. It is ok and necessary to stop and look around and enjoy it, but don’t settle down too much.
3. Expect the unexpected
On the third episode of this season, Littlefinger released some wisdom, and it stuck with me.
“Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.”
I am not telling anyone to fight or to be paranoid. But think and be aware of all scenarios also help you innovate and be prepared. As the S2M team and I were discussing, innovating is being able to see the trends and not just get the first solution we think of, but addressing the trend and needs as good as you can. And that might be a totally new solution. One example of it, it’s how Cersei eliminated the high sept and ~almost~ all her enemies with wildfire. I mean, you probably didn’t see that coming but it was a genius combination of resources and timing. Even Olenna said she lost for lack of imagination. Again, not that you should burn church filled with people. The lesson here is to think about all the resources and situations and get the best combination possible.
4. Chaos is a ladder, but not for everyone
Continuing with Littlefinger’s wisdom, in the last episode we were reminded of a speech where he said chaos is a ladder.
‘Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.’
I think Airbnb and Uber know this quite well. They are completely new business models that thrived especially because of an economical crisis. But again, the reality is way lighter than Littlefinger’s speeches. The climb isn’t all there is and love or god isn’t an illusion. The thing is that in times of chaos (crisis) there are a lot of entrepreneurs who can take good advantage of it by again, being aware of trends and needs and addressing them. But it isn’t for everyone, and that’s also ok.
5. Have allies
Not everyone is competition. Actually, the more people we have working together with us the better. And we keep learning that in the game of thrones each season, right? Of course, having dragons helps, but you are nothing without other people to help you out.
6. Don’t walk in a straight line.
I am looking at you, Rickon. Don’t be too stiff, making some curves along the way helps a lot. Just read the lean startup and you will understand what I am talking about.