If you read the title and thought “What a bold statement, am I going to become suddenly very rich?” I’m sorry to announce that I don’t know any secret recipe to becoming rich, I would already be there myself, but I am sharing some bits I learned in the past year or so of watching various talks.
Do you want to be the next Zuckerberg, or would you rather be the next Jason Fried? What’s the difference between these two you ask, well let me lay down two of them for you: while Zuckerberg is known by a lot of people throughout the world, Jason is making money building things that people actually pay for.
I, for one, would rather build the next 37signals. Sure, I would love to build a company that almost 700 million people use, but nothing beats having real revenues coming in from the sale of actual products. “We found out that having a price is really cool for getting profits” David Heinemeier Hansson said at Startup School in 2008, and I tend to agree with that: my mother has been doing it for more than 10 years now. She’s probably not your traditional startup, but she’s bootstrapped, profitable, and damn proud! If it’s worked for her, and millions more before, why shouldn’t it for me, or anyone else? It sure seems like a better bet than the following formula:
Am I saying that everybody should go for that path? No, definitely not. You might have a business model that gets its money otherwise: from the backend, like mint, or from advertising, like google. It’s all a question of choice, and balance. Do you want to be the little guy who’s quitely building, and selling things or do you want to be the $gigantic corporation that everybody knows? The answer might seem obvious “I want to be famous, so I’ll be the next google!”, but it’s definitely not. Again, it’s all about choices.
Choose your path, stay on it, and you’ll get somewhere.