I just wanted to write a quick post because I am really frustrated by the effects of the pop culture on young entrepreneurial minds. In particular I want to refer to the movie Social Network. Here is why its polluting young minds:
- Stealing ideas: I cannot stress enough about the fact that if you don’t tell anyone your idea, you will not get feedback and will be wasting precious time, money and resources trying to get it off the ground. The Social Network showed people that stealing ideas made Zuckerberg a billionaire. The part that people missed out was when he said “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.” Realistically, there is no law that can prevent someone from starting a company similar to yours. There are always ways to get around it. If you want help from someone, they can only help if you tell them your idea. I also partly blame college for this as well. They are still stuck in the old school era trying to teach students to write 500 page business plans instead of focusing on the product.
- Idea is everything: If there is one thing that I have learned so far in the startup scene, it’s that idea isn’t everything. Infact I would say that idea always comes second after the team. Execution and team are the most important aspects for a startup. I can literally take your idea and still fail while you can become successful. Why? Well it was the execution. So please stop thinking that having the next million dollar idea will make you rich overnight. Coding for a night like The Social Network will not take you to the valley and get you funded. Fab.com failed at their initial idea but it was the team the took it to a company that raised over $40 million dollars.
- Entrepreneurship Major: This is a little offtopic but it is just ridiculous to think that being an entrepreneurship major will make you an entrepreneur. It is not a functional major. I have met several entrepreneurs who said it didn’t teach them a thing. Yes, it will definitely teach you the basics of starting a business but that is about it. If you are looking at web startups, most of business school principles end up being ineffective especially with the new Lean methodologies.
- Being an entrepreneur is cool: I am not at all disagreeing with this. It is definitely cool and exciting to be an entrepreneur and starting a company. But, what they show in The Social Network is not even close to what the reality is. Starting a company means living scrapily, it means living without sleep, it means working hard when your friends are partying, it means taking risks that could turn you to a zero or a hero and it means hustling day and night until you hit the light at the end of the tunnel. The Social Network makes it look hip and rich but that’s only after you have done all of the above.
In short, stop worrying about protecting your idea and start building it. Oh wait….to build it, you need to tell someone about it ; )