This great story called “Just Manic Enough: Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs” highlights the sort of “good obsession” that seems to be a part of success. In the milder form, we call it “hunger” in this post – an incessant and relentless drive to be/ become exceptional or, in this case, to create exceptional things. That said, the NYT story relates behavior that borders on the troublesome, and part of the story regards VCs’ efforts to try to separate between “good” and “bad” manic behavior. Inside we tease our readers and ask: could we be calling the insane “eccentric” just because they’ve gotten rich?
As promised, here’s the teaser. We like the “good obsession” bit – what’s not to like? – but we were left thinking that the story also brings to mind Nassim Taleb and others in describing success in the “process vs. outcome” or even “survivorship bias” light. Could we simply be assigning “good maniac” status to the very few successful members of a large sample of entrepreneurs who went bust, regardless of whether the behavior was indeed a cause of success? Hence the question in the introduction.
By the way, there’s a podcast in this page about the story, but the relevant section only begins some 14-15 minutes into the file.