Wed, Oct 02, 2013
Yesterday I had the incredible pleasure to discuss growth, scale and thinking big with two of the most impressive (and wicked smart) young entrepreneurs I know. The one runs a global accelerator program which simply blows my mind, the other builds a tool which redefines how we create software. Both are at a point where they think long and hard about their growth story — grow organically, learn, iterate and build from a position of deep market/business understanding or take on more capital and accelerate growth significantly?
Both started out our discussion with telling me all the operational bits and pieces they need to get in place to move from A to B. Hire more people, get infrastructure in place, that kind of thing. It sounded very tactical to me. Good insight and they clearly spent time thinking this through — but for me it missed the mark: I wanted to know what their vision was. What is the legacy they want to leave with their organization?
When both told me about their vision, what they want to achieve, what their big hairy audacious goal is — they didn’t talk about exits, selling to a well known company or getting rich. They talked about how they want to change the world. And they mean it. You could see it in their faces. You could hear it in their voices.
I challenged them to think what their world would look like if they go for scale. Ten times, a hundred times of what they are doing today. What would they do differently now? What would they focus their time on? What would be important? How much do they want it? How would they feel if they didn’t get it?
It’s incredible to see the change in perspective when you think big and long term. That’s the reason why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is such an amazing leader — he thinks and acts big and long-term. It’s such a rare treat to see people act like this — and yet, I would argue, it’s the only way how you can build truly great companies and change the world.
Make no mistake: Thinking and acting this way is scary. It’s frightening. It makes you uncomfortable and stretches you significantly. It feels like you can’t do it. It’s hard as hell. Slower, organic growth is much easier. Spending money smartly is incredibly hard.
And yet — I urge you to ask yourself: What do you want? What is it that you desire? What do you want your legacy to be?