"You laugh at me because I am different, and I laugh at you because you are all the same" - Lady Gaga
Here's a great role model for any aspiring tech founder! As I've said before, it's not enough to simply be a genius, you have to get your amazingness into the public conscious if you want to be successful. Without an effective strategy of awesomeness and being-talked-about, you're a nobody. If you don't stand out in the crowd of wannabes, you're not going to be noticed. If you don't believe in yourself, big time, why should anyone else?
Is your startup a way to raise money to pay you a salary? Is it a hobby that's more fun than a real job? Or do you have the ambition to be bigger than the biggest thing ever (other than me) and set the world on fire? In short, do you have doubt or do you believe you're on the edge of glory?
I talk to a lot of founders who are reasonably interesting, competent, intelligent, etc. They seem to have the basics all under control. Some of them are even talking about global markets. But - and I admit I am also guilty of this - most of them/us are also holding something back. It seems to be that deep down inside we don't really believe it's possible, that we can do it. We talk about competitors, barriers, challenges, bugs in the software, stuff we need to do or fix or find. Where is the fire? Where is the certainty, the desire, the hunger to succeed, the naked ambition?
A few years ago I met someone who told me she started her business at a competition where the brief was "come up with something that could reach a billion people" and remember being a bit taken aback. A billion people. Have you ever thought about that in relation whatever you're doing with your life? Does it seem real or relevant to you?
Ting was in her mid-twenties, operating in several countries, reaching markets nobody else could serve, and all because someone asked her a rather scary question. I guess she was just young and foolish enough that she took the challenge without realising how hard it was going to be. Just like a certain pop star we all like to sneer at.
Here's the video of Ting's talk at my TEDx event in Taipei a few years ago and if it doesn't inspire you to raise your game then you should go and get a real job!
The business was ultimately unsuccessful, like 94% of tech startups, but if you're probably going to fail anyway then shouldn't you aim high? Nobody cares about the guy who is trying to dominate the market for peanuts in Lithuania, but you will find it a lot more support if you're thinking big. To succeed, you need a team and finance, and to get those you need to be attractive. Big visions are attractive. Enough said?
Here's the elevator pitch for my new business: We aim to change the lives of one billion people, by giving them a measurable verifiable improvement in their economic situation.
So now you're all fired up, right? Here's some music to set you on your way!