Book reviewThere's an interesting path from the early stories of Steve Wozniak working on the Apple or up to recent success stories like Flickr. Each short story makes only a couple of pages of interview with the founder: initial idea, funding, good and bad turns and advices to would-be entrepreneurs. That makes up a good and easy summer read.
What I would have loved to see is a short summary of each story key takeaways and a final chapter that could have provided an expert view and some advices to would-be entrepreneurs. "The Art of the Start" from Guy Kawasaki would probably be more appropriate for that.
Idea, guts, luck and connectionsAlthough each story is different, there are some common traits:
- Everybody has ideas, few have the guts to take the risk of turning them into something more tangible.
- Luck is often a factor, although I believe one can create favorable conditions to increase the chances of being lucky.
- The initial idea often derive into something else, more interesting and more viable.
- Having the right connections is also an element of success.
- Diploma and experience doesn't seem to correlate very strongly with successful entrepreneurs, although entrepreneurs get more successful with each startup experience.
Missed opportunities?Trough the years, I had some ideas that, given the right timing, the right contacts and a little more guts, could have (maybe) turned out into something big:
- While working at Softimage as a webmaster, I thought of a web site that would feature commercials, short movies, game animations and movie special effects that were done with the products. People would get a synopsis, watch the video, and rate it or send critics. Animators and students were eager to show off their work, so they would have submitted their own videos. I shared the idea with the founder and it was dismissed as impossible... a few months later adCritic was born... That was in 1998.
- While working as a project lead for the redesign of a dozen web sites, we worked with an interactive agency that sent us links to an online prototype. Business owners (marketing & communication people) would print the page in black & white, handwrite annotations for corrections, and fax it back to the agency... with cut-off margins, unreadable comments and bad handwriting! I thought of an online collaboration tool that would allow someone to put virtual Post-It notes on a page and share them with other people. That was around 2000. Check out Fleck.com
A new opportunity?Now I've got this crazy idea about WASP, the Web Analytics Solution profile, that would ease the implementation of web analytics solutions. The early version, more a proof of concept than anything else, was received with great interest and I got very interesting feedback.
Could there be some business opportunity behind it? Maybe, not sure, but it's a hell of a fun to do it!
What's your own missed opportunity?