Here’s to the world-changers. The unreasonable ones. The visionaries.
About the author: Geoff Wood is the COO and main connection point in Iowa for Silicon Prairie News, the co-founder of VolunteerLocal and founder of Eggcrates. For more on Wood, see the note that follows this post.
Our most recent Sunday Video Series post came out a bit late and you might have missed it. It's a three-minute video featuring Steve Blank (above), a noted entrepreneur, author and professor, in which he's asked, "What's a startup?" He answers the question by giving the differences between a startup and a small business.
Blank notes that while the terminology is often interchanged around the country, Silicon Valley defines "startup" around a company with a founder who wakes up each morning saying of their idea, "I want to take over the universe, I want to change the world, I want to do something important [and] this is the most exciting thing I could ever do."
I love that definition. As you might imagine, this question – "What's a startup"?" – comes up a lot in our company. Blank's response to the question is the best I've found so far.
Coincidentally, I've read two blog posts in the past week by local entrepreneurs that also hit home.
Big ideas are crazy, inconceivable. People who hear big ideas have polarized reactions and either love it or roll their eyes at it, but they react strongly emotionally. It challenges them. They start to talk with others about this crazy idea they heard, and the virus spreads.
Small ideas don’t make the world go 'round. The big ones do. If you are going to be an entrepreneur and take risk, then commit yourself to a grand adventure. Be unreasonable.
Do people around you refer to you as visionary? The mean ones might call you an eccentric kook. But the reality is, without the ability to see and go after what others don’t, you’re not likely going to make it. The good news is that energetic employees will follow visionaries for less money than they are worth. Press will follow visionaries. Customers will follow visionaries.
All three of these individuals are hitting at the very heart of what drives our Silicon Prairie News team. We, alongside so many others in the region, are doing what we can to build this area into a true Center of Innovation. In the Silicon Prairie – thinking, again, of "Silicon" as a "metonym for the entrepreneurial spirit" that has characterized the Valley for the last half-century – one of our roles is to apply a megaphone to the companies and ideas that embody those principles.
Here's to the world-changers. The unreasonable ones. The visionaries.
Hat tip to Apple's "Think Different" campaign.
About the author: Geoff Wood is the COO and main connection point in Iowa for Silicon Prairie News, an organization working to increase the notability of the Silicon Prairie region – Des Moines, Omaha, Kansas City and surrounding area – as an innovation center and startup hub. In addition to a daily news blog, the Silicon Prairie News team also produces events like Thinc Iowa and Big Omaha. Wood helps organize Barcamp Des Moines and DSM Startup Drinks.