Kathy posts ‘Death by risk aversion’

You ever been on a team where something starts out as a fantastic idea but then gets worse and worse over time?

I’ve┬áseen this happen and talked with Kathy Sierra about it last week at Search Champs (she used to work at Sun Microsystems and saw the same thing happen).

Out popped this fantastic post: Death by risk aversion.

I present to a lot of corporations. Everywhere I go I smell the fear. People are scared to do something different.

In big companies taking risks really isn’t appreciated. Oh, yes, I know I’ll get 50,000 examples emailed to me in an hour, but come on.

Here’s an example that someone I know (who doesn’t work at Microsoft) told me. He was looking at changing groups at his company. But doing so would need building up a reputation with a new group of people, would mean working harder, taking on new responsibilities, for no increase in salary (and a very real chance that he’d fail in his new job since it was something he hadn’t tried yet).

But, if he left his company to try something new, he’d have the same risks, albeit with a higher salary and with more upside if the company succeeded.

Three years ago I took risk after risk after risk and it paid off. I now have a great job that I love, a book that looks like it’ll be successful, and lots of great friends who are interesting (and lots of great readers who tell me off when I write something stupid, which is often).

But, am I taking enough risks? Well, I’m gonna speak in front of an audience I never thought I would be speaking in front of, and then I’m gonna go skiing in the Swiss Alps this weekend. That’s enough risk for this week.

Are you taking enough risks?