The normal state of businesspeople is fearing the loss of something you don’t have yet.
And this causes problems. A huge amount of the problems we have with business – especially when we involve politics – centers around the fear of losing things we don’t have. In one sense, it’s absolutely necessary. Without planning ahead – both for profits and losses – it’s entirely too easy to find yourself bankrupt instead of in business.
I think that treating anticipated profits as equivalent to actual profits is just as bad for business as not paying any of your bills. It may take a little longer for the rot to creep in and things to collapse, but it’s there all the same.
Here’s an extreme example: I remember a roleplaying game where a couple of players got mad enough to quit the game forever because they didn’t think their characters got enough of a reward compared to the other characters.
A pen-and-paper roleplaying game. Because their characters didn’t get as much totally fake reward as another character.
This is no different than a businessperson saying they deserve more profits. I don’t care if that businessperson is a union leader complaining about cheap overseas labor, anyone (from individual authors to the MPAA and RIAA) getting upset over the income lost from piracy, or some other example I haven’t thought of yet. It doesn’t make sense, and is fundamentally based in a lack of sustainability.
Consider these two scenarios:
1. I take $100 from your bank account, right now, without your permission.
2. I promise you $100 and don’t give it to you.
Profits are not guaranteed. Remember that.
Because those who treat profits as guarantee won’t take risks for fear of losing what they don’t have. And those people will never, ever innovate.