Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Lottery Ticket Entrepeneur

Terrific quote below from James Siminoff on tech startups trying to launch at SXSW. I was there this year and detected the same thing.
"The growing popularity of SXSW is directly related to the rise of lottery ticket entrepreneurs. Those that think they will be able to hack some feature together and be the next Foursquare, Twitter, etc. 
While that does happen, it is about the same frequency as winning the lottery. If you are going to start your own business you better do it realizing that you will not be the lottery winner and for you like me, will have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty for a few years before seeing the hopes of some sort of positive outcome."
There's one more part of the equation that most of these folks are missing. I call it the "overnight success that takes 5 years to happen." Every, and I mean every good business, whether it's in tech or another industry, takes much longer to build than people realize. My mom, who built a very successful retail business, once told me that "business takes patience." Probably the best business advice I've ever been given. 

Most people don't know that the Founder of Groupon flopped around in the group buying space for years before he conceived the Groupon business model. Or that Twitter was preceded by podcasting software called Odeo. There are tons of examples like this. If you are building something, take a deep breadth and keep plugging away everyday. Good things take time to build. People have to discover you. When they discover you, they take a tiny bit of ownership in your success and they spread the word in a way that is much more powerful than any paid for marketing message.

Overnight successes take years, and a big splash at a conference can't do it for you.