One of the greatest things about being in the tech industry for so many years is that I get to meet hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have a dream of building or creating something. I can probably tell within minutes of meeting that person if he or she is going to be successful.
Scary isn’t it? Not really. Most of the time the person’s success really depends on his or her personality. There are certain ingredients that an inspiring entrepreneur must have in order to be successful. Sadly, most people just don’t have what it takes. I know a lot of seniors live vicariously through some of the young folks today who created something out of nothing and sold it for a billion dollars, like Instagram, or now have their companies valued at a $100 billion, like Facebook. I have to tell my generation that 99.9 per cent of the young people in the digital world today are not capable of inventing something and turning it into gold.
My advice is to hold on to your money. I am not trying to be mean or negative. I just want to be the conveyor of reality. Most angel investors are prepared to lose their money. They deal with percentages. If one out of 10 deals work, they have made back their losses and if they are really lucky they made a sizeable profit. Investing in social marketing or smartphone apps is an art. The average person doesn’t know what questions to ask or how to evaluate the business plan. A word to grandparents. If you finance a grandchild’s dream, consider it a gift. You most likely will never see a return.
Everyone thinks they are Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs but the truth is unless today’s tech entrepreneur is obsessed with his or her work, compulsive, controlling, fearless, articulate and a problem solver, they will fail sooner or later. I even dare to say that unless today’s entrepreneurs are willing to give up quality time with their families, they are dead ducks. That is just what it takes to make it in the age of the Internet where one week is like one day, one day is like an hour and one hour is like one minute. Internet time is much different than what the rest of the world is used to. Everything is instant response and instant gratification.
I have witnessed so many people with tons of ideas that went nowhere fast. They just didn’t know how to execute. They were either so in love with their concept that they thought it would just take off, or they liked the idea of creating something but really had no interest in exerting enough sweat to see it to fruition. I can remember so many times, when I truly got excited about handling the public relations for a new invention or service only to have the creator flame out. Many of these guys are screw ups and can’t handle success so they unconsciously do something that causes their downfall.
My next blog post will be about some of the characters I’ve come across over the years. Get ready for a good laugh. You can’t make this stuff up.
That makes for interesting reading, Lois. Barry Ritholtz, on his wonderful financial blog The Big Picture, has a provocative blog entry here that you might find interesting, about how tech-savvy young entrepreneurs will save the economic future of the U.S.