Interested vs Passionate

I feel like I hear the term passionate too much when it comes to business and startups.

“I’m passionate about the internet.”

It’s a bit like saying, I’m really into electricity. The internet isn’t really a thing to be passionate about – it’s a thing that allows passions to be made into realities. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of entrepreneur podcasts and youtube interviews and what I’m seeing as their foundation lies in ‘interests’ more than passions. I’m seeing a long term interest in certain areas that have subtly influenced their direction over time. A sense of curiosity which builds over time and provides startup direction by stealth. They didn’t have a burning passion or overnight explosion of desire, but a slowly building yearning and curiosity for a certain type of technology or type of connection.

The Foundation interviews by Kevin Rose are a super forum for hearing the long story from founders. A little more about how they got there, than what they did once they arrived. It’s insightful and refreshing stuff. Two of these that stood our for me were the interviews with Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.

Musk – Turns out he had a big interest in comic books as a kid. He read every single one in the store and their futuristic view of the world shaped his mindset and the ventures he ended up in.

Dorsey – Was obsessed with dispatch routing (omnidirectional messages from a single source) and maps (he filled his bedroom wall with them). Which again influenced the design of the twitter service.

The point is they didn’t turn up and say: ‘How can I take advantage of this internet thing with something new?’

Rather, they said:  ‘Hey, finally I can build that thing I’ve been thinking about all this time.’

We are best served when we listen to our genuine long term bubbling interests, rather than what’s hot and bursts of passion.


3 Comments Interested vs Passionate

  1. susanjjones

    Great point Steve. The more I travel on this entrepreneurial journey and the more ideas I have – the more I see that they pull together areas which have long been interests of mine. I don’t try to do it, it just happens when I follow my nose (and heart!)

  2. Steve Sammartino

    Exactly Susan – we’ve got to follow the path we’ve already been on – and just reinvent it with the new tools – not be ‘opportunistic’ and shallow.
    Also this makes it easier to stay the course when things get hard.

  3. susanjjones

    I agree. Opportunistic and shallow never works long term – online or offline. Plus, it’s a sucky way to live!

Leave a Reply