Icarus Factor


DEFINITION of 'Icarus Factor'

The term Icarus factor describes a situation where managers or executives initiate an overly ambitious project which then fails. Fueled by excitement for the project, the executives are unable to reign in their misguided enthusiasm before it is too late to avoid the failure.

BREAKING DOWN 'Icarus Factor'

In Greek mythology, Icarus and his father, Daedalus, were imprisoned in Crete by King Minos. Daedalus created two sets of wings made from wax and feathers. He and his son were to use them to escape by flying. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus was overcome with the excitement of flying and disregarded his father's warning. He flew higher and higher, approaching the sun. As the wax melted and the feathers fell, so too did Icarus fall to his death in what is now called the Icarian Sea, near Icaria, an island southwest of Samos.

The Icarus factor is most often seen when companies plow into businesses that work on different models from their existing lines. As they spend more and more money to try and catch up to companies already dominant in those fields, they use up the cash reserves built up by their core business - sometimes this drain can be fatal.

  1. Infectious Greed

    A phrase used in his July 2002 testimony before the Committee ...
  2. Behavioral Finance

    A field of finance that proposes psychology-based theories to ...
  3. Behavioral Economics

    The study of psychology as it relates to the economic decision ...
  4. Irrational Exuberance

    Unsustainable investor enthusiasm that drives asset prices up ...
  5. Taylor's Rule

    A guideline for interest rate manipulation. It was introduced ...
  6. Emotional Neutrality

    The concept of removing greed, fear and other human emotions ...
Related Articles
  1. Active Trading Fundamentals

    3 Psychological Quirks That Affect Your Trading

    There are human tendencies that can block the road toward achieving our financial goals. Here's how to get around them.
  2. Investing Basics

    Master Your Trading Mindtraps

    Traders are only human; therefore, they are subject to psychological traps when they trade. Read how you can manage your emotions so that you can profit from your trading.
  3. Options & Futures

    The Importance Of Trading Psychology And Discipline

    Find out how investing success can be more about your mindset and less about the markets.
  4. Investing

    What a Family Tradition Taught Me About Investing

    We share some lessons from friends and family on saving money and planning for retirement.
  5. Investing

    Where the Price is Right for Dividends

    There are two broad schools of thought for equity income investing: The first pays the highest dividend yields and the second focuses on healthy yields.
  6. Personal Finance

    How Tech Can Help with 3 Behavioral Finance Biases

    Even if you’re a finance or statistics expert, you’re not immune to common decision-making mistakes that can negatively impact your finances.
  7. Investing Basics

    5 Tips For Diversifying Your Portfolio

    A diversified portfolio will protect you in a tough market. Get some solid tips here!
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Identifying And Managing Business Risks

    There are a lot of risks associated with running a business, but there are an equal number of ways to prepare for and manage them.
  9. Forex Education

    Explaining Uncovered Interest Rate Parity

    Uncovered interest rate parity is when the difference in interest rates between two nations is equal to the expected change in exchange rates.
  10. Fundamental Analysis

    Using Decision Trees In Finance

    A decision tree provides a comprehensive framework to review the alternative scenarios and consequences a decision may lead to.
  1. Do working capital funds expire?

    While working capital funds do not expire, the working capital figure does change over time. This is because it is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does working capital include inventory?

    A company's working capital includes inventory, and increases in inventory make working capital increase. Working capital ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can I use a regression to see the correlation between prices and interest rates?

    In statistics, regression analysis is a widely used technique to uncover relationships among variables and determine whether ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do I calculate a modified duration using Matlab?

    The modified duration gauges the sensitivity of the fixed income securities to changes in interest rates. To calculate the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I calculate the rule of 72 using Matlab?

    In finance, the rule of 72 is a useful shortcut to assess how long it takes an investment to double given its annual growth ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  2. Bullish Engulfing Pattern

    A chart pattern that forms when a small black candlestick is followed by a large white candlestick that completely eclipses ...
  3. Cyber Monday

    An expression used in online retailing to describe the Monday following U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday is generally ...
  4. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  5. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
Trading Center