Why entrepreneurs need to default to an optimistic mindset
Marc Andreeesen gave a great interview last week with the New Yorker around the topic of optimism and where he sees technology going. We need to shed a bigger light on this topic because we’re seeing many founders get dissuaded from focusing on the big picture or being optimistic.
“Let’s forget whether it’ll work or not. What if it does work?” – @pmarca on optimism and early eBay http://t.co/3Ugey2Wkai
— Jason L. Baptiste (@JasonLBaptiste) October 27, 2014
Let’s not write off the “Toys” or “Silly Ideas”
Chris Dixon has a well known article about how many technologies of the future will start out looking like a toy. Many new companies, such as Yo, launch and start getting belittled in the press for looking like a toy. People can’t understand why a company like this would receive millions of dollars in funding. That’s the skeptical thinking that is the complete opposite of what this industry was built upon. We should be asking how big this can get and how can we help them get there? Every company looks much different in its infant stages than it does when it matures. The beauty lies in the optimism and asking how big something can get? In Yo’s case, they could end up being the platform that notifies and informs everyone of content that’s meaningful to them.
Let’s not stop trying because someone aimed big and missed
We’ll see entrepreneurs get accolades in the press for building something big and going for the home run, yet they’ll get torn down by the same people when they fail. Every move will be analyzed with a “wow, how could they” mentality. Fab revealed it was burning 14 million a month before it had a massive reorganization. The community couldn’t believe it and once again tried to take Fab to town. This is sad to see. Most homerun swings result in a single or a strike out, but there’s always another at bat. If the swing did result in a homerun, we’d look at it as a ballsy move and applaud it. We need to applaud the ballsy moves no matter what, especially in failure. Every entrepreneur that sees this type of criticism will think a second time before going for a moonshot. They’ll compromise out of fear and tone their vision down. We need less of that. We need confident, optimistic, yet pragmatic entrepreneurs that are going to move mountains.
Ask yourself what would you do if you couldn’t fail?
It’s good to embrace failure and I think it’s one of the good aspects of our industry. It doesn’t mean we should fail and just chalk it up to being totally okay, but more that just because we failed, doesn’t mean we’re pariahs. Now that that’s out of the way, we should take a contrarian view. Instead of having failure in the equation at all, what if we took it out entirely? What if failure wasn’t an option whatsoever and we stayed optimistic to will our vision to reality? This is the type of thinking Elon Musk has with Tesla and SpaceX. He literally cannot conceive the concept of failure and does not let it get in the way of execution. If you put yourself in the mindset that you couldn’t fail, your biggest fears go away, and you likely start aiming much higher.
Just a short and simple postg, but it goes a long way. Creating a company is likely the most difficult career path anyone can take. We need more people doing it and we need them to be optimistic about doing it. It’s good to cautiously listen to the speedbumps and potential setbacks obviously, but you have to do so with an optimistic mindset. It’s the only way to survive.