March 28, 2008
Everyone has heard the old cliche that in order to succeed, you must fail first. But is that really true? I hate to admit it, but I think it is.
I’ll start with this: failure sucks. No one likes to do it, no one likes to admit it. I will admit, though, that I have failed at many things – tests, sports, trying to fly out of a tree fort – and most recently, two business plan competitions (one for school and one for the states). The Quinnipiac University business plan competition was my first submission into a contest, and luckily I made it to the finals. I ended up coming in second, a formidable showing considering past experience – none. Everyone told me how great it was to come in second … but everyone wants to come in first. The second attempt was on a grander scale, the CT state competition. This time my plan made it to the final four and once again, no win. So what was the problem? Did the plan not measure up? No. It was that I had no experience so I didn’t know what to expect.
In the field of business, how are you supposed to know what works well when you have never done something wrong? This is where the old adage really holds true. Of course, it is always possible to just copy what everyone else is doing, but how do you think they got there? Most likely by trying new things (and realizing they didn’t work). Now that I have had some more experience with business plans and had some mentoring from professors and business professionals, I feel much more confident. More importantly, I know what it takes to make it to the finals and win – hopefully.
Do you have any stories about failure leading to success? Let me know!
March 28, 2008
Anthony LaFauce wrote a compelling article for the Social Times called “History Will Not Judge Social Media”. Just to sum it up, Anthony believes that since we have become such a digital culture, we have nothing analog to store everything we do, thus our identities will be lost forever. The internet and digital information are a bit like thoughts: you can create them and share them with others, and they can even be recalled … but they are not tangible things that can be stored for someone else to look at. For me, this article brought up the question that many people ask themselves, “How will I be remembered?”
Nobody knows how long the internet or culture as we know it will last, that much is obvious. When the technology changes, what will happen to everything that we have created in our digital worlds? All of the blog posts, pictures, comments, etc. could be like the ideas of past generations that were never acted upon or written down. This seems like a heavy subject, but I decided that I won’t let it weigh me down.
I don’t think that everything we have achieved will be lost at all. If you think about it, not many things are ever truly or fully erased. Many people have found that it is actually quite easy to find lost or deleted files on their hard drives. You can even go back days, months and years to see a comment that someone posted on the internet. Everything is stored somewhere. Short of nuclear devastation or a direct asteroid hit, that should not change. If one really were paranoid that their contributions to the world could be lost forever, start creating backups. As Anthony states, print out your posts, comments and pictures so you can have something to show your kids when the internet is gone (is that even possible at this point?).
I think the main point here is that if you have enough faith in yourself and your message is broadcast to the world, it will be remembered – either by you or others. No one wants to be forgotten, but I don’t believe that anyone – or anything – ever truly is gone. So don’t worry about how people 140 years from now will discover and watch your video blog. Chances are it will still be around in one form or another.
UPDATE: Just saw this video and thought it had a lot to do with how everyone will be remembered. Thanks Gary!
March 20, 2008
As I continue on my journey to become an internet entrepreneur, I continue to face decisions that will affect if I continue on my current path or not. At a time when the economy is faltering and the dollar is losing its value, it is not easy to be running a startup company. I continually ask myself whether or not I am entering the ballgame at the wrong time. I keep convincing myself that, yes, I will be able to do this and be successful.
I keep hearing that Web 2.0 has reached the high-water mark and that investors are starting to shy away from internet startups, but I hear from other people in or close to the industry that are saying the exact opposite. The same holds true with internet advertising. I read an article yesterday that stated online ads were going to decrease by billions of dollars, yet I heard from a professor that a major car manufacturer is taking money away from TV advertising and putting it into online ads. So what gives? I really just think that there is so much confusion and speculation because of the economy. No one is sure what to be doing because the future is so unsure.
Reading Melissa Chang’s article “Five reasons why a recession is a good time to start a company” gave me some inspiration and confidence to know that I may just be able to pull through and do well. Just to paraphrase, the five reasons are: 1) A recession forces founders to be frugal, 2) Recessions force entrepreneurs to take a closer look at their ideas, 3) Recessions lead to committed startup teams, 4) Startups get a head start, and 5) Recessions toughen up companies.
Hopefully all this holds to be true as I continue planning my startup. Let me know what you think.