Smart Entrepreneurs vs. Wise Entrepreneurs

There is a set of interrelated concepts I’m fond of reminding entrepreneurs about but I’ve never found a really good way to summarize them into a sentence that conveys the right meaning and tone. Here are various renditions:

  • Be different, not best
  • Do less, not more
  • Go around a wall, not through it
  • It is better to figure out how not to have to solve a problem as opposed to having to solve the problem.

A while back I was talking to my friends at Kaltura about this and CEO Ron Yekutiel told me about a saying he’d heard about the difference between smart and wise people.

The difference between a smart person and a wise person is that a wise person knows how not to get into situations that a smart person knows how to get out of.

About Simeon Simeonov

Entrepreneur. Investor. Trusted advisor.
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8 Responses to Smart Entrepreneurs vs. Wise Entrepreneurs

  1. Pingback: Being wise versus being smart « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog

  2. Brilliant bullet points!

    I feel like a great entrepreneur. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Entrepreneurs, Ideas, Sales and Innovation| Today's Top Post | Dimarkin

  4. Bob Balaban says:

    How about this: “The most important leg of a 3-legged stool is the one that’s missing.”

  5. Joe Smill, CFA says:

    You’re on your way to middle management! I used to be a fan of cute little one-liners like this.

    Imagine if all the world thought like this. Who would speculate (probably not the best word to use today) to invest capital in planes, automobiles, computers, etc. before their existence. Gay? Why come out, when you have a cushy existence – that should be good enough for the rest of your life. What if that homo was your son? Catch my drift..

  6. Joe, the only thing wrong with one-liners is how they are used. To me, they are the starting points of conversations.

    As for your comments re: investing in planes, automobiles, etc. before their existence, I really don’t get your point…

  7. Joe Smill, CFA says:


    Sorry if I came off as condescending, I like your post and quote find. Just I think, that the quote itself, not your interpretation since that’s personal, lacks sticky power.

    Re: planes, etc. Say “smart” Dave understands how to build one. He’s poor and needs capital. Bob down the block is happy to give it so long as Bob gets 51% profits and ownership down the line, and he uses Dave’s home and all personal assets as collateral for the loan.

    If no other financing were available since the thought of an airplane seems so unrealistic prior to invention, “wise” Dave (read risk-averse Dave) wouldn’t put up his home/assets as collateral since he has a family to support. Why put yourself in a situation even a seemingly smart man can’t get out of?

    You can argue “smart” Dave, would fine tune his blueprints to ensure success and take that “idiotic” risk with Bob, hence billionaire status and bling teeth for his kids, and plastic tits for the wife.


  8. good approach of distinguishing smart and wise people. I liked that one!

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