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Entrepreneurs Check if Schrodinger’s Cat is Dead

If you’re an avid fan of the show Big Bang Theory, you might recall an episode when Sheldon describes Leonard and Penny’s relationship potential using Schrödinger's Cat. In the episode, Sheldon uses the thought experiment to motivate Penny and Leonard to make a decision about going on a date.


Schrödinger’s Cat is a thought experiment developed by Austrian physicist Erin Schrödinger. In simplicity, the experiment proposes a cat in a box with a poison which can be exposed or not depending on another factor and left for an hour. During the hour, the cat is in a state of “quantum superposition” – that is, the cat may be both dead and alive. Only if the box were opened would someone discover if the cat is dead or alive.

I thought about this experiment when I took an alternate route to Atlanta Tech Village the other day. The route wasn’t better than my usual, but it let me lay to rest the “what if?” This is a similar principle behind entrepreneurship – testing hypotheses, learning, and executing the next plan.

We all have thoughts about the “what if” much like we have ideas of The Next Big Thing (please don’t sue me, Samsung) – we’re all creative and start out as “wantrepreneurs”. What changes someone from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur is execution – “opening the box”.

A couple other thoughts:
  • Customer Discovery, especially before an idea is built, is similar to research before performing an experiment. It may give credence to a hypothesis. It may indicate to an entrepreneur the potential success or failure of an idea without even “opening the box”
  • Opening the box or rather, building/ executing on an idea, will ultimately give the more definitive result
What ideas do you have that you’ve been wondering the “what if”? What stops you from experimenting?


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