Don’t Look for the Biggie

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I recently wrote a paper about Peter Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurshipwhich led me to conclude that all management theory is a footnote to Drucker.

Drucker writes far ahead of his time on topics from information technology to career management. Give it a read.

One of my favorite quotes concerns the nature of “thinking big” in entrepreneurship:

Successful entrepreneurs do not wait until “the Muse kisses them” and gives them a “bright idea”; they go to work. Altogether, they do not look for the “biggie,” the innovation that will “revolutionize the industry,” create a “billion-dollar business,” or “make one rich overnight.” Those entrepreneurs who start out with the idea that they’ll make it big—and in a hurry—can be guaranteed failure.

I often hear people interested in entrepreneurship get frustrated that they can’t think of an idea that “everyone can use.” Like Facebook or Uber. Everyone uses those. Some small and obscure idea will never catapult one to success.

In our fast-moving economy and news cycle, we are inundated with stories of seemingly overnight success stories. Yes, it can happen. But this is just as rare as when Drucker wrote thirty years ago.

Facebook was first available only to Harvard students, then neighboring college campuses, and years later become available to everyone. Uber rolled out gradually among cities and branched out to different services.

 

Maybe some ideas are niche. That’s fine. The internet has developed a market for topics and audiences so diverse and obscure that it only takes 1,000 true fans to make it. And those who are successful at this often don’t stop there — they say the average millionaire has seven sources of income (While this sounds plausible, I have not seen data to back it up.).

As usual, listen to Drucker. Don’t let the wheels turn until you’ve found “the next Uber.” Get out there, start producing, and see how people respond. And read more Drucker.

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