Scipreneurs/7-day-intro/4 - making lemonade

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4 days in a row must be celebrated! 🎉

If I were you, I would palm myself in the back for a job very well done. Not everyone has an attention span that allows them to focus for more than a day on something.

In the first 3 days I tried to push you into the direction of understanding why, how, and what are you going to do as an entrepreneur.

It's not an innocent choice: a weak motivation will make you dwindle in the face of challenges, a bad idea will not bring you far, and not having clear wishes will prevent you from giving your first step.

Today I want to discuss with you about an essential skill every entrepreneur must have: effectual reasoning.

Last time I asked you to make a list of things you need to get started with your project. But today I am going to ask you a reverse question: what do you already have that will allow you to get started.

For example, you may already have access to a lab with testing equipment, and therefore you don't need to buy everything from scratch. You may already be traveling to a conference. You have a network of people around you, both potential customers (partners in projects, collaborators, scientists who cited your work) as well as suppliers.

Something that many people forget while doing a PhD, Postdoc, and especially when they are PI's: they have access to time. Don't underestimate the value of having time. It's not something everyone has, and there's no guarantee you'll have it in the future.

Effectual reasoning is, perhaps, the skill that most repeats among entrepreneurs.

You can focus on the things you don't have and need, or you can focus on doing the best with what you already have.

The entrepreneurial path is not linear. Sometimes you get what you want, many times you won't. Especially at the beginning. You may think your idea is worth a million, but funders may disagree and are willing to give you 10k.

You may focus on the 990000 you didn't get, or you can focus on what is the smartest thing to do with those 10k.

Quite frankly, I believe that effectual reasoning is quite foreign to researchers from well-funded institutions. When you have an excess of resources, the means are not the limit to reach your goals, only tenacity, and luck. It's very different when you talk to scientists from less wealthy countries. You can see how they create solutions with whatever they have available.

I always thought of the sentence: "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade" as a defeatist approach to living. If life gives you lemons, sell them and buy whatever it is you need. Or plant them, grow a tree, and start a lemonade empire.

The task for today is to think about all the things you have today that put you on-track to get started. It may be hard things, like a machine or a lab, or it may be soft ones, like a network of collaborators, a supportive supervisor, or a presentation at a conference.

Have you heard about effectual reasoning before?


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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