It seems like every five minutes, somebody’s updating their LinkedIn profile with “Founder” and/or “CEO”. Wow, please, tell me more about how you “managed a team of five people” and “oversaw the budget for my own company”! If I had a dollar every time somebody told me they were part of a start-up, I wouldn’t even need Kickstarter to fund my new $70,000 business (Oh yeah, go ahead and click on that. I bet you really want to buy a $10 potato salad, right?).
Since this is an attempt at a satirical article, I was going to make a joke about how I could probably start a company that made cat calendars. Because, you know, then I can make an inspirational video with my other millennial friends about how…excuse me, I’m choking up…this NEEDS to come to the market. I can talk about how I’ve spent years developing the prototype, how I’ve quit my job and hooked up with a web developer out of India (who obviously built a cutting edge algorithm to determine which kitties were the cutest)…ALL SO I CAN DEVELOP A PRODUCT WE BELIEVE IN! Hey, support my project! If you really believe in me, you can purchase the “Super Funder” package, and I’ll send you a handwritten card and $5 to African children (who don’t have iPhones so they obviously can’t experience the cuteness of internet cats).
Oh wait, this is a thing.
So what if you went to business school, discovered Kickstarter or Indiegogo and actually decided this could be a way of creating a meaningful company? I wasn’t a business major, but I always found it skeptical that people who just spent four to six years studying from a higher institution could determine that something as gimmicky as crowd-funding is a legitimate way to craft a business.
“I’m creating a product that will actually help people, though!”. I mean, I feel that, but look at all the moronic examples I listed above (most of which actually got funded, by the way). I don’t know much about economics, but tell me that the sheer volume of so-called ideas hasn’t diluted the “supply” and shortened the “demand” for people to give their money to you. For every $20 million crowd-funded idea that competes with the iWatch, there are countless failed projects (Kickstarter’s own website puts a 64% failure rate on all projects).
There is nothing wrong with championing Albert Einstein’s mindset that if an idea isn’t crazy that it’s destined to fail. There’s nothing wrong with seeing promise in Steve Jobs’ garage-to-riches blueprint for building a media empire. There’s nothing wrong with styling yourself as a once in a lifetime visionary; if you want to have any shred of a chance at success, that’s a rudimentary prerequisite.
And you know why? Because most of the biggest and baddest corporations out there operate on the back of ideas that, when given real thought, are ridiculously dumb and sparingly innovative. So, despite my trashing of the modern, millennial entrepreneurship paradigm in this article, if you think you have a good business idea – just go for it!
Apple and Dell didn’t invent computers. McDonald’s makes horrifically inedible hamburgers. Google didn’t even spell its’ damn name right and basically copied Yahoo’s search engine. And I’m not being repetitive by talking about the potato salad thing again, am I?
The rules are changing every day about what a business can and should be. Ask somebody thirty years ago if the largest taxi company in the world would own no cars (Uber), the largest hotel chains would own no property (AirBnb), or if the world’s largest media empire creates absolutely no original content (Facebook)…and they would have laughed in your face.
I’m not an entrepreneur, and I will never be. But if you think you have an idea, product, or service worth replicating and distributing to the masses – just go for it. Haters and detractors like myself have every right to question and ridicule your business plan simply because this is 2015, and people hate everything.
But you’d be the one who was man or woman enough, to put yourself idea with a concept that you believe in. The person who tries and fails is a hundred times the person who never tried.