Startups today are overdosing on ambition.
Everything has to be a billion dollar idea that changes the world or it isn’t worth doing it at all.
Nowadays, even a billion doesn’t appear to be enough:
I’ve most likely sat in on eight unicorn presentations, and six of them use the world ‘trillion.’ Now I don’t think I had heard the word trillion in an investor presentation before that day.“
In any case, we have done something in the ecosystem to encourage this type of outlandish promotion, where you feel like you need to use words like trillion.
The truth is, that for every thoughtfully articulated and executed world domination master plan. Most of the biggest and successful companies started with much more humble ambitions. Some simply wanted to give students an alternative to a summer job. Others just wanted make their friends feel like they are so important.
Most wouldn’t have cleared the obstacle of the billion dollar idea
The father of a good friend of mine lost his job a few years ago. With no short term expectation of work, the family rallied to see if they could start an online business together that might make a few thousand dollars a month. They weren’t looking to start an empire, but something small that would supplement some of dad’s lost income.
Over the years I’ve watch as that little company has grown from a couple thousand dollars a month to a couple million dollars a month. Next year, that unfunded family run business will do over $100M in revenue.
Not each billion dollar story begins with a billion dollar idea. Not everything unfundable by VCs is unworthy of doing.
Starting something in the hopes of making an extra $1,000 a month is every bit as worthy as attempting to colonize Mars. Start small and give your ambitions space to grow.
You may be surprised with how little ambition it really takes to eventually change the world.