The A-Z of disruption: B is for bravery

In our A-Z of disruption B is for bravery, a quality which is key for entrepreneurs looking to take a new and unproven idea to market.

We asked three business leaders from the region the question; how do you tread the fine line between being disruptive and being reckless? Here’s what they said.

The A-Z of disruption brings together thought leaders from East Anglia to answer questions on topics relevant to disruptive companies. It accompanies The Disruptors, our new video series showcasing interesting businesses from around the region.

Find out more about The Disruptors here.

Bravery is awesome

Kris Jones of Tech Velocity

Kris Jones is CEO and founder of Norwich digital accelerator Tech Velocity. He is also a Tech Corridor ambassador.

“Dostoevsky wrote of bravery, “What makes a hero? Courage, strength, morality, withstanding adversity? Are these the traits that truly show and create a hero? Is the light truly the source of darkness or vice versa? Is the soul a source of hope or despair? Who are these so called heroes and where do they come from? Are their origins in obscurity or in plain sight?”

The answer of course is yes, all of it.

So when do you need that bravery most?

  • Starting out – do you do what you’ve always done, and get what you’ve always got? Or get on the rollercoaster!
  • The excrement seems to continually hit the air redistribution unit. Sleepless nights, self-doubt, imposter syndrome.gain proper validation, keep calm and carry on.
  • Your idea isn’t going to work – it’s just as brave to stop as start. It doesn’t mean you won’t be back bigger and better.

What do you do to de-risk? 

  • Validate the crap out of your idea.-
  • If you suck at pitching or operations, or any other aspect, get out of the way and let someone else do it (or make plans to do what you’re best at as soon as you’re able).
  • Get the product in people’s hands as soon as you can. Improve and iterate with feedback and validation.

Bravery is awesome. Knowledge is power.” 

Bravery and foolishness are 'almost the same thing'

Thyngs CEO Neil Garner

Neil Garner is CEO of Thyngs, the Norwich-based connected payment specialist which was the first company to feature in a Disruptors video. He says:

  • You have to brave to do something disruptive as disruption can have the desired positive outcome or significant unintended consequences
  • Bravery and foolishness are almost the same thing. Creating a disruptive business is incredibly exciting, very stressful & hard work – rewards usually come in the long term so financial pain can be extreme!
  • Bravery is stopping doing something fundamental ‘that always works that way’ and doing the opposite or something completely different. Go it go, measure results, tweak it, push it as long as you can bear it, but kill it quickly if its never going to work.

People are the dealbreaker

Anglia Capital Group's Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is business manager at Anglia Capital Group, which manages a network of angel investors across Norfolk and Suffolk, investing in potentially disruptive start-up businesses across the region.

“You may already know that PEOPLE are the most important aspect to consider when investing in early-stage businesses. In fact, 90 per cent of angel investors say that ‘people’ are the deal-breaker.


Because you can have the best business plan, IP and marketing strategy in the world, but none of it counts if the people, don’t have the courage and nous to deliver it.

That’s what investors want to see in an entrepreneur.

But there is a fine line between having the bravery to pursue a dream and recklessness. The key is to be aware that start-ups have a 50 per cent failure rate but be brave enough to try anyway. Listen to investors’ advice, don’t believe you know best, because you probably don’t.”