Deals Fall Through
"One of the most useful skills we learned from Viaweb was not getting our hopes up. We probably had 20 deals of various types fall through. After the first 10 or so we learned to treat deals as background processes that we should ignore till they terminated. It's very dangerous to morale to start to depend on deals closing, not just because they so often don't, but because it makes them less likely to."
Be Pessimistic of Deals
"No matter what deal you have going on, assume it will fall through. The predictive power of this simple rule is amazing. There will be a tendency, as a deal progresses, to start to believe it will happen, and then to depend on it happening. You must resist this. Tie yourself to the mast. This is what kills you. Deals do not have a trajectory like most other human interactions, where shared plans solidify linearly over time. Deals often fall through at the last moment. Often the other party doesn't really think about what they want till the last moment. So you can't use your everyday intuitions about shared plans as a guide. When it comes to deals, you have to consciously turn them off and become pathologically cynical."