The Idea Dude


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Every startup is an accident waiting to happen

If blogging is a form of confessional, then forgive me, it is 7 days since I have blogged. Unlike some bloggers who are able to throw words routinely into a blog as part of their daily reality, I prefer to put what inspires me in mine. Today, I realized that inspiration rarely comes in the heat of battle, but usually it announces itself in that quiet moment of reflection when you have time to ponder someone else's ramblings or be introspective of your frenetic actions.

Today's title is inspired by a Fast Company interview with Caterina Fake, a co-founder of Flickr. Fake relates how the concept mutated from the original idea to build a massively multiplayer game that didn't quite make it. What did survive was the idea to share stuff like pictures and Flickr was born. I attended a Delrina 10 year reunion this week. It almost follows a similar story. The company start making electronic forms in the late 80s and the unplanned sibling of electronic faxing aka Winfax became the poster child that defined them. In their heyday, they would compete with Microsoft Windows as to which company shipped more product on a weekly basis. A great bunch of dudes, humble even to this day in the aftermath of their success. I'm honored to have worked for them and played a small part in their story. They deserve a piece of my blog.

So the learning here is that no-one can tell you whether you have run the course in your current adventure or whether you should take an uncharted road that could spell riches or demise. For every story of someone sticking to their vision and won, there is one that lost. Similarly for everyone that took that deviation and smiled, someone else got all their teeth knocked out. The point is, nobody knows and it is easy to look back and declare that victory was planned even though it really was being in the right place at the right time. I guess what it means for me, is that to be that star you have to take that risk and stand on stage and sing your song, because as long as you on that stage, the next song (not the current one) could be the one that defines you.

The best way to describe any entrepreneur would be Bruce Barton's quote...Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.

Or as the inimitable Spock would say...Random chance seems to have operated in our favour


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