Entrepreneurship Can Never Be Formulaic

Dominion is a deck-building card game that is about figuring out the value of each card, acquiring the best card at any given point during game play, and playing your hand as best you can. The strategies revolve around when to start buying Province cards (i.e. the cards that you need to win), understanding how a particular set of cards is likely to play out, and responding to the other players’ actions. These strategies become somewhat formulaic once you know the best strategies. You might have to play Dominion 100 times or more before you figure out the strategies and formulas—this is part of the fun—but it’s still formulaic. In fact, most board games and card games become formulaic eventually. Even complex games like chess or Go are arguably formulaic, as demonstrated by artificially intelligent computer algorithms easily beating all the human world champions.

In contrast, running a business isn’t formulaic. This is because people are all different and continually changing, markets shift, competitors act and react in unexpected ways, black swan events happen, and new technologies get invented. Even the stated goals of a business and the people within it are constantly evolving. Unlike board and card games, the rules are always changing and no one really knows what the new rules are until the rules outdated. In fact, shortly after someone finally figures out the new rules and creates a formula to win, the rules immediately change.

No one has entrepreneurship all figured out. There is no formula guaranteeing success in business. Anyone who tells you running a business is easy is trying to sell you something.

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