September 3, 2007 Leave a comment
“This is not what you do. This is not how you start off with. You are all wrong!”
Everyone, including me were taken aback and had confounded looks on our faces. You could hear the pin drop in the room. Is this not what we are taught day in day out? What does he mean?
“You see a problem, and you try to find a solution to that problem. That is how you start. And that is how you build your company. These visions and missions come later, way later.” he replied in a quiet and gentle manner.
That elderly guest speaker was no other than, Andy Grove, the co-founder and ex CEO of Intel Corporation.
“When we started Intel, we had seen a problem. We worked towards finding a solution to our problem and we built our company around it. That is how successful companies get built and run.” he added while gazing at our empty and confused faces.
He was so right. I began to think back. In 2002, when I co-founded BrightSpyre, it was based on a problem that we had seen. There were no websites for job advertisements in Pakistan. We built our company around solving that problem and later that idea spawned a whole industry in the country. Today, five years later, a new job portal gets launched every few months in the country.
Moral of the story. Find a problem, something that needs a solution. Once you have identified it, then build your business around it. And you shall see your ideas will have better mileage than blindly following someone who spends lots of time on documents, business plans and presentations. These things are important and will definitely be required at some later stage. But during startup, they are not as helpful.