History tells us about the Vikings who looted right from Western Europe to Persia. It tells us about Moorish, Irish and Arab Pirates or the Blackbeard – a Caribbean pirate whose hidden treasure was never found. They all were fearsome, their occupation was plundering and killing, their passion was gathering treasure. They loved risks and were fond of adventures.
While old age piracy was about looting the gold or silver or currency or taking ransom for releasing hostages, it changed its meaning when privateering came into existence. Privateering meant for the kind of targeted plundering or capturing of a ship related to a particular country on the behest of another country. Then came the present day piracy – Somali Pirates, Great oil plundering all around the world. On some accounts today’s sea Piracy is as big as 25 Billion USD per year!
What fascinates the most and what is common among old and new age piracy is “The Risk Taking Ability of Pirates”. Economics has a term called Risk Aversion. Every person has an aversion for risk. Which means, anyone when readies himself to take a risk, he has to be awarded properly (read monitory gain). Higher the risk associated with a job, higher will be the reward which has to be given to the person. So what was the payout of the Piracy?
Going out to sea in a small sized boat, with hundreds of men on board, would have sickened even best of the captains. Managing the greedy beast out of everymen and then coming to a plausible solution for dividing the booty were the challenges which could put most logical men into a crisis situation. Extensive touring, unpredictable rewards, not supporting weather and looming threat of fight with protective agencies – Pirate life was tough.
There were little chances that anyone could become rich beyond measures just by gathering prizes from plundering few boats. Most of them met the fate of Blackbeard – they were either shot dead, hung till death or drowned in sea.
Risk Aversion algorithm which pirates used was the most fuckedup. They actually lusted after that risk. The potential for riches was just an argument for the venture. But the real payoff was the pirate life itself.
There is another league which uses the same – most screwed up Risk aversion analogy, and this league consists of those who have left their jobs to embrace Entrepreneurship. Like piracy, chances of success for an entrepreneur are little – only few out of many taste the success. Entrepreneurs are new age pirates.
Throwing away the well-paid jobs, security of healthcare and monthly paychecks to try luck in the success of an idea (which most would argue is destined to fail) is the trademark of founders. There comes a time when even closest of the relatives & dearest of friends show concern about what you are doing. Unless your venture becomes the next Flipkart, nobody knows what you have been doing.
Entrepreneurs, though, are all screwed up. They don’t need to be rewarded for risk, because they actually get utility out of risk itself and they like adventure. In Entrepreneurship as well, the potential of getting rich is one argument for venture. Getting rich depends upon how well customer accepts the idea of a new product or service. Those who come to Entrepreneurship with a target of becoming rich soon, see their friends leading easy career path (read working for others) making more money. Those who think they have customer in their pocket; they face the uncertainty of customer behavior. Everybody becomes an entrepreneur with an aim to get success at the earliest – and exactly that doesn’t happen.
Making your first hire and getting someone else joining your venture to support you in the fight ahead, with getting first funding from some crazy venture capitalist who sees some green light in your idea, selling your product to a customer and counting the cash which you earn, then to a day when you sit stunned with all funds burned and you are clueless where it has gone – These experiences, just like the life of a Pirate, is what an Entrepreneur’s aspiration and reality.
But then only an Entrepreneur or a Pirate could tell you – how he has tasted the blood. Like “Man in the Arena” only an Entrepreneur could tell you why some people in old days loved to live a life of Pirate. Was it the Risk or the adventure or the success or the failure? I say all contributed to it in some way or other.
There is “PayPal Mafia” and there is “Traitorous 8” who has made fortune out of Entrepreneurship. And for that they have left the cosy jobs under a Nobel Prize winner or under the big name of Ebay. One group went on to make the “Silicon Valley” and other group has been at the bottom of “modern startup boom”. They are the pirates who are really successful; they are the names who have given Entrepreneurship a new dimension. They have given people a hope what an entrepreneur is capable of doing and what payoff the risk of being Entrepreneur has got.