THE FOUR INTERDEPENDENT STEPS OF THE CORE PATTERN
The core passion-trap pattern consists of four interdependent steps, each leading to the next (as shown in Figure 2-1):
1. Attachment to an Idea. Whether through an incremental process or a single bolt of inspiration, you latch onto a compelling business concept: a cool product, an innovative ser - vice, or an unstoppable mission. It’s good. You know it. And you can feel your enthusiasm building. The more you think about it, the more excited you get. Your emotional attachment grows, and leads to. . .
2. Investments and Actions. You invest time, energy, money, or other resources and move forward with your idea. This can include many different actions, depending on how far you have gotten along your startup path—sharing your idea with colleagues, exploring the Web, talking to potential customers, hiring team members, or building a prototype. These actions give rise to. . .
3. Feedback or Results. Early actions always lead to something that can be seen, heard, and evaluated—the reactions of friends and family, information about customers and competitors, a duct-tape version of your first product, or even early sales results. These results are then subject to. . .
4. Biased Interpretation. At the heart of the passion trap is the enthusiastic entrepreneur’s well-documented tendency to notice and embrace information that supports existing beliefs and to discount or completely miss contradictory evidence.
Figure 2-1. The core pattern of the passion trap.
This selective filtering process is governed by a set of subtle but powerful cognitive biases operating just beneath the founder’s awareness. As a result, he or she develops an even stronger emotional attachment to the idea, and the cycle rolls forward. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Not only does each step in the pattern lead to the next in a selfreinforcing cycle, but smaller reinforcing loops are at work as well. As discussed in Chapter One, when you invest in an idea and start to make it real (oval 2 in Figure 2-1), you strengthen your attachment and commitment to it. And, as your attachment to the idea grows, so does the likelihood that your biases will distort incoming reality (oval 4 in Figure 2-1).