Michael D. Moberly, Business Intangible Asset Strategist – December, 22, 2023

Risk taking and the presumption one will learn from (their) failures are not universal preludes to/for achieving success in business.

Taking business risks and the materialization of business risks today, are no longer merely an axiom of wrong place – wrong time.

Risk taking and risk materialization have changed in terms of speed, intensity, and consequence.

Today, risk producers are more intentional and nefarious, risk delivery occurs at keystroke speeds, and risk outcomes are costly and less recoupable.

As a business intangible asset strategist and risk mitigator, I am not an advocate of the convention-laden axioms…

  • Take risks.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not reaching far enough.

Such axioms, respectfully stem from perspectives attributed to David Packard (HP’s founder) uttered many years ago, Neither, in my view, represent universal prescriptions to/for success. Axioms warrant inclusion of circumstantial contexts for audiences to decipher situationally and generationally.

I’m confident also that many speaker-specific axioms are grounded in good intentions and reference a personal and/or professional trial or challenge experienced and convey a felt need to ‘pass along’ humbling experiences on a speakers’ path to success and ‘billionaire-ism’, e.g., a commencement audience and/or eager innovation-spirited entrepreneurs.

Today though, business and/or reputational risks can materialize nefariously, intentionally, and consequentially at keystroke speeds. Risks can emerge with viral intensity, less tolerance for mitigation – correction missteps, fewer entrées for rational defensibility, and only nominal expectations for recovering a business’s ‘mission essential’ (intangible) assets (economically – competitively) intact.

For eminent university commencement speakers and/or book touring authors, et al, carte blanch advocacy of ‘taking risk and learning from failure’ appear self-effacing and/or humbling reminiscence of ‘risk taking gone awry’, e.g., successive sleepless nights and multiple meals of Raman noodles following an embarrassing setback. Axiom speakers often include admonitions to re-think, re-group, and re-invest obligingly being the primary preludes to ‘eventually’ re-achieving and sustaining success.

Early in my career in academia a successful alum started their commencement speech by stating ‘103 publishers passed’ on their initial book proposal. The 104th publisher said yes, and the alum’s initial book materialized into a very lucrative series of books nationally and internationally.

I am inclined to characterize the ‘103 publishers who passed’ failed financially and reputationally based less on the notion of risk, rather based on variously subjective decision-making criteria. The 104th publisher succeeded. I am confident that a large percentage of the 103 publishers which ‘passed’ posited many rationales for ‘passing’ upon learning of the successes of the 104th publisher that said yes.

Preferably, risk taking involves perspectives and assessments of chance, possibility, probability, vulnerability, exposure, jeopardy that may include a well-considered gamble. Unfortunately, ‘criticality’, i.e., should particular risk(s) materialize, what array of adversities will same likely produce to (business – brand) reputation, operating culture competitiveness,  revenue generation capability, and valuation.

These axioms and variations are periodically echoed by commencement speakers and/or book authors as holding a universal relevance to leadership, i.e., business – innovation success across sectors.

The keystroke speed delivery, materialization, and intensity of ideological and/or reputational risks to a business, and the immediacy of economic and competitive harms are seldom reflected in axioms of take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Too, business risk taking is (fiduciarily) obliged to recognize that…

  1.  70 – 80+% of most business’s valuation, competitiveness, revenue generation capability, capacity, and sustainability today, and for the foreseeable future, is attributable to intangible (non-physical) assets. Intangibles | BrookingsUnseen Wealth: Report of the Brookings Task Force on Intangibles on JSTORIntangible Assets: Computers and Organizational Capital | Brookings
  2. intangible asset intensity – dependency – reliance relate across business sectors and transactions, irrespective of size, stage of development, sales, products, services, or location. Boom of Intangible Assets Felt Across Industries and Economy – UCLA Anderson Review

Hence, taking risks and making mistakes in intangible asset intensive, dependent, and reliant business environments, are obliged to recognize the potential fragility and un-recoverability of the…

  1. know how (intellectual capital).
  2. processes-procedures (structural capital), and
  3. operating culture (relationship capital), which risk routinely target and adversely affect.

“The modern products of today are significantly more complex than traditional products of the past. With rapid advancements in technology affecting businesses operating across many different product sectors, the risks posed by these products, in terms of the types of harm arising and also the legal exposure under product laws, are more complex and diverse than was the case until very recently”. Thomas Reuters Practical Law article, January 2023.

Taking risks and/or risk materialization is no longer merely a write off, e.g., wrong place – wrong time. Today, risk producers and deliverers are more likely to be intentional, nefarious, costly, and less recoupable.

The Business Intangible Asset Blog was created in 2006 and now includes 1100+ topic specific posts intended to provide readers, ala business leaders, management teams, R&D administrators, boards, and investors, etc., with reliable insights to the application, valuation, competitiveness, revenue generation, and sustainability contributions of intangible assets.

Posts at Business Intangible Asset Blog are intended to draw attention to the development, application, management, safeguards, and risk mitigation of business’s ‘mission essential’ intangible assets.

kpstrat is a Business Intangible Asset Strategy – Risk Mitigation Collaborative.

Readers of this post are respectfully invited to explore other – similar posts, along with books, pamphlets, and papers available @ ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ and kpstrat.com.

Divi Real Estate Agent | Luxury Properties


1234 Divi St. #1000, San Francisco, CA 94220

Phone Number

(255) 352-6258

Business Hours

24/ 7 / 365

Sign up to get latest news & Listings:

Do you need some help?

Vivamus eleifend mattis eu faucibus at felis eget. Tincidunt at ut etiam turpis consectetur euismod. Ullamcorper aenean sem sceleris que sed vel facilisi netus ut. Pharetra vitae sed ut sed sit pharetra sed. Sit sollicitudin potenti laoreet auctor non nunc. Quam viverra commodo vel adipiscing tortor ultricies.
Copyright © 2024 | Privacy Policy
Divi – Real Estate Agent