Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
A few years ago, I had a meeting with a young entrepreneur who had (what he called) a brilliant vision.
I listened, while my eyes fought valiantly against rolling backwards into my head.
You see, I’d had a meeting the previous week with another young entrepreneur who had precisely the same (not brilliant) vision.
I wanted to introduce them to each other, if only in the hope that they’d have a fight about who had the vision first.
I was moved, therefore, to hear Jeff Bezos offer some sneakily caustic words to young entrepreneurs only yesterday.
Speaking at Wired’s 25th Anniversary Summit, Amazon’s CEO had a few simple and very realistic words to say about entrepreneurs who can see the future and their role in it:
If you have a vision.. that everybody agrees with, probably you shouldn’t do it because everybody is going to do it.
It’s remarkable how often entrepreneurs all agree about where their industry — and even the world — is going.
All they have to do is create an app that fits perfectly into that future.
Because once you create an app, everyone downloads it and loves it. You can never have enough apps, can you?
There’s enormous comfort in doing something that everyone around you agrees is a wonderful idea.
All you have to do is execute it and everyone will think you’re wonderful too.
Just think of how many young entrepreneurs — many of whom likely knew each other — wafted to Venture Capitalists for years with an idea entitled The Uber of (Insert Just About Any Product or Lifestyle Category Here).
Yet, as Bezos added:
The real needle-movers are driven by being right when most of the world is wrong.
It’s hard being right. That’s why it’s more fun being a columnist.
Just think of how Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laughed at the iPhone when it first emerged. Actually, let’s look again at the video. It always generates amusement.
Yes, Microsoft was, in Ballmer’s words, “selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year,” while Apple was selling none.
Ballmer’s vision was, at the time, accepted by so many.
Steve Jobs was an arrogant loon. While Ballmer had the revolutionary, um, Zune.
Of course, it’s likely comforting for Bezos to now suggest that he, like Jobs, was, well, a bit of a visionary in creating an online bookstore and having vast numbers of employees toiling in glorious warehouses.
I suspect, though, that on many occasions along the way he rather quaked in his boots, hoping he wouldn’t be found out as just another tech entrepreneur.
Looking back, at least Bezos wasn’t at the core of the Valley Groupthink Cabal, hugging each other while desperately hoping each other would fail.
At the core of his words yesterday, though, was a fundamental human notion.
Isn’t it simply far more fun to do something different from the maddening crowd?
More Info: inc.com