I’m not Zuckerberg

Being a teenager passionate about startups, you want to start the next “hot” startup.

When I first started getting involved in the startup scene roughly a couple years ago when I was 17/18 , I wanted to start my own company. I was inspired by the entrepreneurs around me and wanted to get my hands dirty.

I was working on an idea for a Twitter stock market game called Cashtag (which I now realize was stupid).

Then came an epiphany….I’m not Zuckerberg. I realized that I was trying to start my own company for the sake of starting it. I just wanted to “do my own thing.” I just wanted to have control over my destiny. I was brainstorming ideas to start anything that made some sense. Eventually I woke up. I wasn’t solving any problem!

While interning at Flightfox, I saw the daily ups and downs of starting a company. I saw the founders up all night to fix that bug or to make that one customer happy.

During my time at HubSpot, I got a lot of advice but one that really stuck to me was from Christopher O’Donnell. He said “Work on your craft. If you have skills you’ll succeed.” I found a mentor in Chris and kept talking to him and the more I talked, the more I realized that I needed to change my life strategy. I realized that I’m not Zuckerberg. I’m just a 19 year old kid from India trying to chase the dream.

When you are starting a company, all the odds are against you. The only thing in your control are your skills and yourself.

Now, I live everyday with the fact that I’m not Zuckerberg or some other celebrity teenage entrepreneur. I need to be always doing, learning, and building relationships. So, when I do come across a problem that I’m passionate about and decide to start a company, perhaps my chances of success might be higher than doing it with no skills to start with.

You might be a Zuckerberg, but you have no way of knowing. Even if you are (which probably isn’t the case) it is a better strategy to act as if you are not.

The only way to succeed is to keep working hard, hustle and acquire skills. If you keep persisting you WILL create opportunities for yourself. Like most good things in life, nothing comes easy.

p.s I want to thank all the people who’ve helped me me in my startup journey. Its a long list so I cannot name them all here but you know who you are. If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.

Like what you read? Tweet me @thesmitpatel.

  • http://www.indivly.com/ John Clark

    … And most importantly don’t quit following that path unless its completely illogical! Good post.

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Appreciate it buddy :)

  • http://www.brennanjp.com/ John Brennan

    Really great post, Smit.

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks man!

  • jcap49

    Well said dude.

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks bro :)

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  • http://www.rodrigoalvesvieira.com/ Rodrigo Alves Vieira

    Thanks, Smit. I’m a 19 year old from Brazil. I think about this almost everyday and I agree with every point you made.

    Maybe in a few years I can go to the U.S too and meet you.

    Keep your posts coming :)

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks for the kind words man :)

      I hope that our paths cross as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=573030697 Maurice Rahmey

    Smit, this is great! It’s funny how smart we think we are in the moment, only to realize a year later how little we knew.

    It’s important to always be learning and be humble (sometimes I forget that one only to be slapped around a bit, ha!).

    I hope you’re well!

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks buddy!

      I agree with you completely.

      Hope everything’s well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/enem.ndubuisi Enem Ndubuisi

    Yeah u r not, so be u , I mean b Smith. U could out do Zukerberg though. Thumbd up.

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thats a great way to put it man :)

  • http://www.thepetedesign.com/ Pete R.

    Great post Smit. You are still quite young so there are plenty of time for you to be an expert at something. :)

    Imagine this, if you live to 88, and it takes 7 years to master something, you will ended up being an expert at ~10 things.

    Don’t give up!

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks man!

      Agree with you 100%. I’ve been working at awesome startups to acquire those skills :)

  • ScottBritton

    Love this. Had a very similar realization when I fell flat on my face trying to start my first company

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks Scott :)

  • http://twitter.com/AaronGerry Aaron Gerry

    Well said, Smit. No point in being someone else; just be yourself and go your own speed, eh?

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks Aaron!

  • todd

    Nice one Smit! Congrats on the new chapter too.

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks Todd :) Fingers crossed!

  • Rosalia Cefalu

    Really strong stuff, Smit. Keep posting, I love learning new insights through you.

    • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

      Thanks Lia :)