"We have zero chance."
I overheard someone say this the other day. Basked in innovative and dynamic communities (Boulder & San Francisco), I hadn't heard those words uttered in a long time. In fact, I can't remember when I last heard them.
It caused me pause. It made me think about the number of "zero chances" we had at Gnip; countless. We weren't supposed to be able to raise money when we did. We weren't supposed to get the software to work the way we wanted. We weren't going to be able to find anyone to pay us for our services. We weren't going to be able to get any Publishers to participate in our ecosystem. Endless zero chances were given to us. That didn't stop us. Not a single time.
You have to be aware of odds of course. You need to know whether or not you're walking into a hostile room or a friendly room. You need to have a feel about whether or not something is likely to go your way or not. But there is never zero chance. You can play risk against any odd. How much energy you put behind a poor odds scenario vs. a high odds, is another story.
All of my life I've walked into zero chance scenarios. I've lost most of them I'm sure, but I've never hesitated. The odds of making the leap into startup land were heavily stacked against me, but it worked.