Idan Cohen on How Entrepreneurs and Lawyers Think Differently

In Chapter 12 of 13 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, technology entrepreneur Idan Cohen answers "What Has Working With Lawyers Taught You About Business?" While he respects lawyers, Cohen still has a hard time with the worst-case scenario mindset lawyers bring. He understands the need for safety but, as an entrepreneur, he also understands you can't achieve certain things without taking chances. He shares how lawyers are not alone offering a protective mindset and shares an example from a conversation with this mother.

Idan Cohen is a technology entrepreneur and product management leader at Samsung Electronics. He co-founded Boxee, which was acquired by Samsung in early 2013. 


Erik Michielsen: What has working with lawyers taught you about business?

Idan Cohen: That they always think of the worst outcome. It's a very pessimistic way of life. I also-- It's funny, but I have a lot of lawyer friends, and just-- I really appreciate them and love them, but you know, they go through an education process where they always think of the worst thing, and it's just a horrible way to go through life, sadly. I hope I'm not hurting anyone. I can't say I'm in favor of that. I mean, that's their job, to think of the worst-case scenario and figure out what to do in that case, but first of all, usually, they don't figure out what to do in that case. They just throw it at you, you know, and you need to figure out, and then you just have more things that you need to figure out. But just, you can't always do that. You need to take chances-- that's exactly when you take chances. And in a way, when you always think of what's the worst thing, then you don't take chances.

Erik Michielsen: That's right, because the worst thing is usually pretty bad.

Idan Cohen: Exactly. Growing up, I remember that especially after I got my license, my driver's license, and every time I would go out of the house, my mother would say drive carefully, or, you know, she would say something like you should really be careful out there. It's like, if you always focus on what's the worst that can happen, you're not going to enjoy that. I remember a couple of years ago, I was talking on the phone, and I told her that I think we're going skiing over the weekend or something. "You should be careful." I was like, why-- like, I'm telling you were going skiing. Instead of focusing on, "Oh, it's gonna be awesome. Who are you going with? What are you going to do?" You know, she's focusing on the dangers of going skiing, and she's 5000 miles away. You can't do anything to affect that, and I think that in a way, that's the same thing with lawyers. Let's try and then figure out.