“Everyone” sees these “kids” in the news making billions with their new apps and “all” the focus is on who’s going to create the next Uber, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook. etc. But the thing is, there are only a few of those big winners. It’s fine, even great, to go for big dreams and shoot for the moon if you’re pursuing something that is truly your passion. But talent is not enough when it comes to building a billion dollar technology business. It also requires things that are outside of our control.
Timing for instance. Being in the right place at the right time cannot be overstated. If Steve Wozniak hadn’t heard of the Homebrew Computer Club when he did he wouldn’t have known that he already knew most of the things he needed to build that first computer. He already knew those things because he had learned by chance from manuals his dad gave him as a kid. And if Steve Jobs hadn’t been in the right place and time to run into Woz while he was working on this new project Apple would never have existed. The same can be said for Bill Gates. Had his mother not been on a charity board with IBM’s CEO at the time they were just getting into the market for an operating system who knows what the future of software would have looked like.
The point is we don’t have total control over every aspect of our lives. We can’t control the fact that while we may have been working on virtual reality displays for 25 years an 18 year old kid decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign, sell his company for $2 Billion, and pair up with Mark Zuckerberg to bring the technology to the consumer market. Was he smart? Yes. Was he lucky? No, he was Luckey . . . well, yes he was lucky too. What Palmer Luckey had on his side was great timing. He began working on a project in an era when smartphone technology brought the cost of parts down to a price point that makes sense outside of advanced academics.
So what’s the point of this post? To rub it in our faces that we can’t all be headline-making billionaires? No. The point is that while there are only a few of those people at any point in history there are also many others who look at the marketplace and look at where the marketplace is going and create amazing things that provide amazing value for lots and lots of people. So back to the big dreams and moonshots. What if you had enough money to just spend time with family, or travel, or tinker around with whatever you’re interested in at the moment? What if you could spend your time doing anything you wanted? What if you could make enough money to retire? There are a lot of people out there who’ve sold their companies for $10+ million dollars to Mark Zuckerberg and done just that. Mark Zuckerberg? He still works at Facebook.
There were a lot of people mining back in the gold rush days. A small handful of them got rich finding gold. A whole bunch of other people made enough to retire and do what they wanted. How did those “other people” make it? They sold shovels and buckets to the miners. Now is the time to learn all you can about virtual and augmented reality. This technology is going to massively impact the way we live our lives. There will be a few people fighting at the top of the hardware war, but there will be many many others enjoying their retirement from the sale of their creative content or innovative use of the technology in diverse fields. So what about you? What truly is your goal? The playing field is even in the VR/AR world. We’re all starting at zero. Will you take advantage of the timing?