My job and passion is to help entrepreneurs create their vision of the future. This holiday week, I’ve been reminded of how important it is to integrate today’s reality as a first step toward accomplishing a vision.
People forget. Amazon opened its “doors” on July 5th 1994 and went public three years later as the world’s largest bookstore and one of the fastest growing companies in history. Amazon focused on a “niche”, built momentum, demonstrated tangible business success solely in that “niche” THEN broadened beyond books. It was four years before Amazon launched their second category of product, music.
This story arises often when working with entrepreneurs. Vision is typically focused on the end-state, not the initial-state. They rightly believe that the end-state vision is what makes their efforts worthwhile. However, we all often forget that efforts start small. We must find and build upon the “niche” first. Only then does the next step toward the vision become possible. We all “know this”. So why do we all so often forget? Me too!
As often happens, Fred Wilson reminded us that it’s so easy to forget basic principals. I highlight the paragraph below that most spoke to me as it reminded me of my experiences described above:
My partner Brad Burnham has the best framework for thinking about this issue that I know of. He calls it “finding the narrow point of the wedge.” The analogy is trying to hammer a piece of metal into a block of wood. If the metal is large and flat, you can’t do it. But if it is narrow and thin, you can. And, of course, once you get the narrow point of the wedge into the block of wood, you can hammer it all the way in.
This same theme is playing out in the DLT / Crypto marketplace in spades. Grand visions abound. Dime a dozen. It’s time to be honest with ourselves and get pragmatic. This is a grand experiment in many dimensions. A worthwhile one but let’s not confuse wonderful vision with the fundamental and necessary steps that are required to get there.
Talented people like Tuur Demeester are presenting a pragmatic, balanced, informed and constructively critical set of thoughtful questions and views for the DLT / Crypto community to discuss and debate. In this case Ethereum. He’s one of a number of people who are now ferreting the real and tangible from pretenders. He and others are asking the hard, cold questions to force the discussion and help discern where the line lies between vision and today’s reality. I’m personally not capable by education, knowledge, skills or aptitude to play this role and am grateful that those that can are forcing the conversations in a public, transparent and mature fashion. Thank you and keep going!