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Cohan: Corporations Need to Think Like a Start-Up
CNBC.com | January 20, 2012 | 12:57 PM EST

Entrepreneurs seem to win against the odds.

Whether the story is about Bill Gates , Richard Bransonor any other legendary entrepreneur, that story usually ends with the word “success.”

But how do the best entrepreneurs manage to succeed so often and so convincingly?

Here are examples of how the entrepreneurial mind employs the following four principles of strategic decision-making:

Exploiting confirmation bias. If you’ve ever down-played information that you don’t want to hear, you’ve experienced confirmation bias. When he was a business pipsqueak in the early 1980s, Bill Gates exploited IBM’s confirmation bias, cutting a deal that made him the world’s richest man. IBM was getting into the PC business and wanted to license a PC operating system. IBM believed that its marketing excellence would make it the PC leader overnight, and was happy to give Gates the license to sell his operating system to so-called PC clones. Since it assumed no clones would exist once it entered the market, IBM figured it was giving Gates something worthless. Gates thought otherwise, and as Dell and Compaq took over the PC market, he got the better of IBM’s confirmation bias.

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