While many in business live in horror that they could lose it all tomorrow, fast-growth entrepreneurs are always doubling down. Why? Because they believe their “jackpot” is just around the corner. Their stuff is so good that somebody is going to come along and offer them a price that is far more than the company is worth. Too often, the jackpot never comes, but the entrepreneurs buckle down and make the company work — with increased revenue, profit and market share.
And eventually, the fast-growth entrepreneurs comes to realize three things: This fast-growth thing is harder than we thought it would be. Getting liquid and selling the business will take a little longer than we thought it would take. And every time we try to take a shortcut, it absolutely kills us. The riverboat gambler transforms into a true business leader and capitalism works. And then just when we think we have it all figured out, some fast-growth fallacy like Tumblr comes along — with little revenue and lots of expenses — and hits the one-in-a-million jackpot with a billion-dollar buyout that seems to redefine what fast-growth success means.