Why Startups Should Chase Incremental Revenue Instead Of Unicorns

Windfalls are awesome, but they’re not a growth strategy

Joe Procopio
6 min readFeb 25, 2021
image by pch.vector

If a startup spends all its time chasing jackpots, it’ll just bleed its runway to death.

This is a lesson most first-time entrepreneurs don’t learn until it happens, but even experienced startup leaders can succumb to the lure of opportunity or the weight of desperation in a way that turns a risk-tolerant strategy into high-risk gambling.

There’s a huge difference between those two paths.

Gambling with your runway

I’m a poker player, I have been my whole life. And while I do most of my poker playing in various casinos, I will state emphatically that what I do isn’t gambling. I’m experienced and I’m a grinder. I have strategies for my play, for who I’m playing against, and for my stake. I have strategies on top of strategies.

High risk gambling is — well, it’s everything else in the casino, but the easiest example to parse is the roulette table. When you bet a single chip on black, you’re taking on a relatively even risk for a relatively even reward. When you bet a stack of chips on a single number, you’re making a high-risk, high reward bet.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com