Chips on Shoulders Equals Chips in Pockets


This post is by David Cummings from David Cummings on Startups


Last week, we had the opportunity to honor Marc Gorlin as the newest member of the Georgia Technology Hall of Fame at the annual Georgia Technology Summit (well done, Marc!). As part of the ceremony, we were asked for our thoughts on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Of course, the most common ideas like grit, resourcefulness, and resilience are always part of the equation. One of the comments I made referenced an old adage we hear in the startup world: “Chips on shoulders equals chips in pockets.”  This saying suggests that a person with a chip on their shoulder has something to prove. They carry a weight, a burden that they need to show they can achieve or excel at, especially when others doubt their capabilities. This characteristic is something we look for in entrepreneurs. The phrase “chips in pockets” originates from poker, where a poker chip represents value or money. Therefore, the more chips you have, the more money you possess.  The startup adage “chips on shoulders equals chips in pockets” means that entrepreneurs with something to prove increases the chance that investing in these types of entrepreneurs results in better financial outcomes. So, the next time someone asks, “What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur and a successful angel investor?” Remember the saying: “Chips on shoulders equals chips in pockets.”