Anyone involved in an entrepreneurial sphere, has at some point lamented the fact that they missed a previous revolution. A time when the momentum of change swept everyone forward. Those times when change was inevitable, or only a few people knew about the big change that was underway. Those times when being there, or just turning up was enough for success to be inevitable. The home brew computer club, the early days of the web. It was so much easier for those guys to launch something new and innovative, and make a bundle in the process. The world was so open and less competitive. Right?
Yes – it was less competitive, but we must remember that access to resources was a big issue. To finance projects, and get around the barriers to entry was incredibly difficult. Ceteris paribus – I’d say the probability of success is unchanged. Some parts are easier, some are more difficult.
The other thing which is interesting, is that those previous revolutions we wished we participated in: The personal computer in the 1970’s, the dot com boom of the mid 1990’s or the web 2.0 renaissance are all still here. The names have changed, and the widgets are new, but the opportunity is just as large. And 5, 10 or 20 years from now you’ll be reading about entrepreneurs who changed the world forever in these in 2 important areas – The web of things, and 3D printing. Both of these areas are as big as any piece of the digital revolution we’ve already lived through…. the ones you missed. And right now they are both in their early 1970’s era equivalent in terms of development and opportunity. So the only question remaining is this. Why are you doing about it?
My father told me this which I never forget. The opportunity of a lifetime comes up about once a week. But only when we’re looking for it.
I once heard an interview with drummer Rob Hirst from the rock band Midnight Oil. It was in reference to one of their most critically acclaimed and best selling song, Power and the passion. Rob was asked about the infamous drum solo in the middle of the song, which not only doesn’t sound indulgent, but fits the rhythm and meaning of the song. What I find most interesting from an entrepreneurial perspective is how it all came about, this is what Rob had to say:
“It was 1982 and drum machines were entering the music scene and replacing drummers very quickly. They were cheaper and more reliable. It was a time when drummers were throwing themselves off cliff tops. Rather than fear the technological advancement, I thought it might be better to embrace it. I wondered how I could use it to supplement what I was already doing to make it better. So for the Power and the Passion, I decided to have a drum machine playing in the background on the entire track. By doing this it freed up my arms and legs to add some color to the song, and ultimately allowed for the drum solo which is often sited as the catalyst that makes the song so great.”
The story above is one for all the Luddites out there. for the technology fear mongers, and those who worry about being replaced. The truth is, we should be happy when technology replaces labour for the simple reason that it opens the door to creativity. It opens the door to opportunity, for a better use of our time and resources.
You can watch / listen the drum solo at 2.35 minutes on the clip below. Be sure to listen for the drum machine track quietly providing the beat underneath.
Not even close… it’s not a billionaire, not even a millionaire…
It’s William Kambkwamba. William personifies the meaning of the word ‘Entrepreneur’. He has done more with less than any of those above. In all probability William had as little a resource base available as any living person in the free world. This is no exageration.
Here’s why he is the worlds greatest entrepreneur:
– He had no financial resources
– He could not even afford to go to school, had no formal education
– He had to make it work with junk he found lying around
– He is self taught
– He created something incredibly complex
– He did it from a guide in what was then, a foreign language to him
– He built something for the good of others, to help his village
– He was not motivated by money
– He defied ridicule
– He is humble
William is the greatest entrepreneur in the world. William is one of the greatest inspirations I’ve ever had the fortune of being exposed to. Read up on William. Google him. Watch the Youtube videos on William. Absorb what William represents and re-consider what you beleive to be hardship next time you have a tough day. I do.
It’s oft said that opportunities in business arrive once we start looking. And startup blog agrees. It’s not really about opportunity though, it’s more about perceptive sentience, general awareness, and curiosity.
Today in Melbourne some opportunists scored big time. The weather savvy surfers got to surf in Port Phillip Bay which is usually as flat as a mill pond. For today we had weather which was as stormy as it has been it in many years…. (like the current share market?) Maybe, just maybe stormy enough for ridable surfing waves to form on the City doorstep.
Ok so it wasn’t classic surfing conditions but the waves where there (revenue ?) for those with the aforementioned qualities (perceptive sentience, general awareness, curiosity) to find.
Most surfers who live in Melbourne, which is a 75 minute drive from the closest surfing location, probably just rugged up with a hot cup of cocoa and forget about surfing in the terrible conditions (market downturn?). Well they missed out. While they didn’t seek opportunity others got a special treat and rode the fun, albeit bumpy waves.
Tomorrow, the waves will be gone.
The surfers out there today are like the kind of entrepreneurs I like to hang out with. People with a curiosity to investigate new situations. To imagine that the current conditions might present new and different opportunities. (They had to consider the wind, imagine the waves may be breaking, drive over and check it out) The type of people who have their resources (surfboard & wetsuit) on hand when chances pop up. People who don’t care that others may laugh at them surfing crappy waves in semi-polluted waters. The type of people who not only win, but have a ball doing it.