If you follow any sort of tech news, I’m sure you’ve heard about Pebble – the runaway Kickstarter success story that has sold over $7 million worth of watches virtually overnight.
The project was launched by a 25 year old guy and a couple friends. As with many success stories, they turned to Kickstarter as a last resort after being turned down by a number of (regretful) venture capitalists.
I was reading a New York Times article today and it quoted one of their critics, Robert Fabricant – the VP of some big-time development firm – “casting doubt” on their success:
“Mr. Fabricant, like others in his field, cast some doubt on the notion that it was possible to sidestep the traditional routes to building a business, particularly through a service like Kickstarter. They say young, inexperienced business people need advisers, mentors and a network of support to help them deal with the problems that can emerge.”
What young and inexperienced businesspeople need is less people like Mr. Fabricant – people who assume that your brain isn’t capable of logic, reason, or research until your hair turns grey. My advice: if someone mentions the phrase “young and inexperienced” – a phrase that I’ve heard hundreds of times in my life – do the exact opposite of whatever they suggest.
An innovative mindset and a set of cojones will trump “experience” any day of the week – and if these guys are smart enough to come out with a product that 50,000 people ordered – before the product even existed – I’m sure they will be smart enough to seek out mentorship (and a mentor who isn’t anti-youth, to boot).
Remember: “entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled” (Howard Stevenson). When you have a great idea – particularly an innovative one that leapfrogs the established route – ignore the people that tell you that there are no shortcuts, people that tell you that you “should” or “need” to go about things in a certain way. That’s the typical party line that The Man feeds to you protect The Way Of Doing Things.
Oscar Wilde said that “everything popular is wrong” – a quote that I think universally applies to business situations, especially in this incredibly exciting atmosphere of innovation through which we’re currently progressing.
Cheers to the newest millionaires on the block – disruptive innovators, I salute you!
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