Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Irrational Behavior Needed


No person in their right mind would start a company. Right?  The cost-benefit analysis, pros and cons, risks vs. reward equation just isn’t in favor of passing up a cushy corporate job with a steady salary guaranteed pension, pre-determined hours and duties for the unknown.  Starting a company is leaping into the unknown.  You don’t know how long it will take to get to revenue or to cash flow positive. You don’t know if you have the right idea or if you will need to pivot, again, again, and again.  Entrepreneurship is to enter an abyss of uncertainty.

Yet, if we are to create an ecosystem of innovation in the Atlanta Startup Rainforest, we must accept and embrace this type of irrational behavior. The reason the rainforest thrives is because at the lowest level there is messiness. People make emotional decisions that can’t be predicted or explained. People are really screwed up.   But it is from the screw ups and irrational decisions that unexpected ideas, connections and even companies are born.

From The Rainforest…

Atlanta Startup Rainforest – Axiom #2: Rainforests are built from the bottom up, where irrational behavior reigns.

One of our specific challenges here in Atlanta is that southern culture is generally conservative and risk averse. To invest one’s college education in a startup is risky. To take any of the family trust and commit to helping technology startups change the world?! Well let’s just say that the country clubs of Buckhead aren’t humming with this kind of talk… yet.  However, we can create the system of tech startups and demonstrate where investing time, energy, and money in startups isn’t just investing in a single company that may fail or thrive: it is investing into a system. The inputs into the system will feed the system. Failed companies provide incredible learning for the founders and investors. Money that was used to get to the failure, led those founders to their next company, and the next.

Bottom line for Atlanta: let’s focus on the system and be cool with a little more  irrational behavior at the bottom level where the magic happens.


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