Just read a great article on folks who have a “Project on the side”. These semi committed entrepreneurs are judged as disloyal to their full time employers and costing productivity when they will fail anyway.
Ok so, I buy that they will most likely fail but that is a statistically safe statement but does nothing to talk about cause and effect. Most great ideas come from being in the stream of business. One has an idea and moves to solve that problem, great as long as it does not directly conflict with your employer.
At some point I agree that you need to commit to your idea and that comes in leaps. Your first commitment is to begin working on a solution, then to show it to someone, then to commit to building around it, asking for help, sharing your vision and finally the first pivot.
One of my favorite quotes from Rockefeller comes to play in this, “There are two times when a man starts a business, when he has nothing to lose and when he has much and does not mind loosing some.”
Both come into play for every company, the start-up is always loosing assets while building value, we call this burn rate. (BTW if you are in a “Start-up” with no burn rate you are not building anything) Energy in is consumed to reshape it and obey the laws of physics changing it to something else. We are not talking about burning your time in a coffee shop. That is just waste. You must actively pursue and create. This is risky.
The second part is also always there which is providing the resources to burn. That is an investor, VC, PE or your savings, at some point all of the above.
Each step in building a product and subsequently a company asks for courage and focus at a greater level from everyone involved. Focus morphs into commitment when you have customers. Very few customers are ever a one-time event. So now that someone has paid you their assets for your services they have placed confidence in you, respect that and deliver your best efforts at honoring them.
Now back to the start and that “Project on the side” yes the longer you do not have the courage to leap with both feet into the project the lower your chance of success. The inverse is not always true nor does early leaping raise chance of success. This is why investors higher experienced teams.
One learns the art of action through failure. When is a tire just slipping and needs a little help from the other wheels to find traction again and when are you stuck in the mud? Humans are learning machines, this is what we cannot translate to other machines. We work by learning and by action. Some are more ritual than others and that has it’s place, but unlike my cat who does the exact same thing every day, humans require diversity or they will turn disruptive and tear down the machine.
Everyone has their own level of comfort with routine and discomfort with disruption, a great team has a broad spectrum here and knows their own and others place.