I am a product of a rationalist education. After my schooling, my career progressed in a way that made me more of a disciple of the rationalist cult. As a strategy consultant, we were brought in to be analytical, usually getting rewarded for overly complex models and frameworks that our clients used to make decisions (or, more often, validate decisions they would like to make).
My rational mind was also in the driver’s seat when I launched my first startup in 1999. It was the first time I was facing critical decisions about the strategy and tactics around a company, and I found it easy to build analytical frameworks for those decisions.
1999 was a horrible year to start a digital business. From the peak of the dot-com bubble, we hit the crash head-on. The next few years were full of anxiety, tough choices and blood, sweat & tears. It was then that I realized that in a lot of the decisions we were making as a team, my co-founders and I were also relying quite a bit on our intuitions.
Following my exit, I returned to my hometown of Istanbul and started to get to know the startup landscape there. I found myself falling back into my analytical habits. Perhaps, the lack of familiarity made me suspicious of my intuitions.
Now that it’s been 12 years since I have been back, I find that my intuition is playing a larger role in how I make decisions. As a VC, we spend a lot of effort looking at data and building frameworks around sectors, markets, and companies. However, I keep getting amazed how well my intuitions generally guide me. A lot of my regrets were results of me ignoring my intuitions. One of my 2018 resolutions is to focus more keenly on that inner voice.
This was inspired by a post on the great Farnam Street blog.