Upside Maximizers and Downside Minimizers

I was speaking with someone the other day who used this term and it really stuck out to me. He was speaking in the context of venture capital, and talking about how often times there are two modes of thinking: upside maximization and downside minimization.

Certain jobs employ particular mindsets. Investment banking, for instance, teaches you to be a downside minimizer. You are working on deals of incredible magnitude; your competency is in how you minimize associated costs. You are looking for faults, errors, and reasons for things to fail.

Venture, especially early stage, is often a game of upside maximization. There are millions of reasons an early stage startup will fail. You want to perhaps acknowledge them, but also recognize that you only need one heavy insight to change everything.

I think surrounding yourself with both mindsets can be a very powerful force. Life is a rocking horse in that we often need harmony to navigate challenging decisions.

Also published on Medium.