Craig Davis
Jan 9, 2014

It’s boring to be safe, not safe to be boring

No business can afford to be boring today, not even the boring ones.

It’s boring to be safe, not safe to be boring

It’s a bad time to be boring. That’s the problem with big businesses, they’re dull, slow and conservative by design. They’re full of people who are focused on managing upwards and not making mistakes. People who talk about innovation, entrepreneurialism and breakthroughs, but have never run a risk.

You just can’t be an entrepreneur with other peoples’ money. They won’t let you. Big companies love safety and certainty, they’re engineered for it from the top all the way down to the bottom line. Institutional investors will even tell giant multinational corporations that they like them precisely because they’re boring.

Contrast that with entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs are rarely dull because they’re driven to solve a problem, to do something better and to make their mark on the world. They’re passionate, resilient and unreasonable. As Reid Hoffman, a founder of LinkedIn said: “In order to jump off a cliff, you kind of have to believe you can assemble a plane on the way down.”

We’re not talking shades of grey, it’s black and white. Entrepreneurs actually enjoy risk. It’s like adrenaline, the hormone that induces the “fight or flight” response. In big companies it induces flight, a rapid retreat to safety. For small entrepreneurial companies it excites them and makes them want to fight. That’s why big companies buy small ones, to get a little taste of risk.

So who is better suited to these crazy times, the stalwart or the upstart? Who is more likely to succeed in the new era volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity? I bet on small.

No business can afford to be boring now, not even the boring ones. So if you’re bored and want to start your own thing, you won’t find a better time than now.  

Craig Davis is Founder of Brandkarma and formerly CCO of Publicis Mojo, Saatchi & Saatchi Asia and JWT Worldwide. He is on the Board of Conscious Capitalism and blogs at craigdavisnow.com.

Related Articles

Just Published

1 day ago

Unwrapping Spotify Wrapped: What is the industry ...

The marcomms industry understood the assignment, followed the brief, and let music stay rent free in their head, just like an NFT. Here’s what the industry folks have been listening to this year.

1 day ago

Accenture Song acquires Fiftyfive5 to boost data ...

The insights and advisory business will help Accenture Song and Fiftyfive5 tap a rising global customer analytics market and further grow its business in Australia and New Zealand.

1 day ago

GM reveals the sci-fi super team that powers your EV

But is performance and reliability really best left to a gang of stressed out tech-crazy militaristic nerds?

2 days ago

Korean car brand Genesis revs up the tunes in DJ ...

The DJ set took place in Shoreditch, London.