Are you at the cutting edge of your field? Or are you at the bleeding edge?

Most of the time, I think I’m at the cutting edge. But then I notice that I’m bleeding.

I get so caught up in the excitement and novelty that I don’t realize that I have crossed over to the bleeding edge. It’s hard to get paid at the bleeding edge, even harder to be profitable. It’s even more exciting than the cutting edge, and even more draining.

In silicon valley, the saying is “pioneers get arrows in their backs, settlers get land.” This is the distinction that I’m trying to make between the cutting edge and the bleeding edge. Both the pioneers and the settlers had the same vision, the same excitement. One was just a little too soon (and it’s really hard to know when the timing is right).