Our group of budding entrepreneurs have been in a funk following the Facebook IPO “failure”.
In their eyes it is a failure because they aren’t used to anything going backwards 30%.
For the dinosaurs among their lecturers, $70 billion is still a pretty brave valuation if boring stuff like cashflow counts.
This was the chance for a reality moment.
Amazing but true, most of these budding entrepreneurs were not born for the 1987/’91 recession and were still playing with ponies or Gameboys in the tech crash of ‘99. Even 2007/’08 was a blur because they were finishing school, starting university and discovering life on their parents’ credit card.
The Facebook IPO was their first reality check that even the best can peak and trough.
Some of the budsters were in tears as Facebook shares fell. One used the word “plummeted”. They were all in a serious funk. I called them the “Facebook funkers”, but that brought no cheer.
If Zuckerberg couldn’t make it, they definitely couldn’t be a success, they moaned.
It was time to talk about grit.
Sure, they were diligent in the extreme in putting together a bankable funding document, had practised their elevator pitch to every other student, and produced influencing strategies in beautiful diagrams that would make an IBM corporate salesmen cry.
They understood grit from a physical point. Some would go for 20 and 30km runs up the mountains after a day of lectures. They could sweat. But did they have business grit?
Could they stay the course against naysayers – without money?
These are the fundamental barriers facing anyone proposing something new or different in product or process.
While you still face the mental and physical challenges of refining your bright idea, while you are still learning how to overcome the originally unforeseen technical or market barriers, how do you cope with the nabobs of negativism?
And without money, because the nabobs either control the money or the market access or are defensive against the new.
Perhaps the idea is less important than the persistence in developing it into a working, cashflow business. Thomas Edison had some words along those lines 120 years ago as his phone became a phone company that became GE.
But Zuckerberg got funding from his fellow students and then California, they say.
So, ask your fellow students to tip in the first million. Ask the people in your class who have all heard your brilliant proposals. Are there no Winklevosses here? Not one taker, not even on mummy and daddy’s astoundingly large credit card?
So now budsters are still in a Facebook funk, but are starting to understand role of grit in entrepreneurialism.