Whether building a startup company or getting faster on a bike, achieving goals is all about the application of mental energy
I achieved two major life goals over the past four years. Although they are closely related and even intertwined with one another, they are also completely different types of goals, one being intellectual and the other highly physical. And what I realized in hindsight is that there was one factor at the center of each that ultimately made them achievable.
First, I founded a technology company in 2010. I’d been exploring a few different models around the convergence of social, local, and mobile for about six months and arrived at the concept of MomentFeed, a platform to enable large brands to connect with consumers at the local level i.e. where more than 90% of commerce still takes place. I’d bring together Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Google, and other channels into a complete solution that provided scale, efficiency, and tremendous value beyond any one individual channel. What resources did I have to embark on this ambitious endeavor? Very little. I needed capital — venture capital to be precise. I needed a product and engineers to build the product. I needed to partner with each of the channels. And, of course, I needed customers. I had none of these things when I incorporated the company in March of 2010. What did I have?
I had a vision. I could see clearly that smartphones would go from 19% adoption in the US to the dominant computing platform. I could see that new channels like Instagram and Snapchat would emerge from this. I could see that Facebook and Google would fundamentally become mobile companies. As a result, I could see what MomentFeed needed to be.
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Powered by the Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon
What the topic of entrepreneurship means for this particular conversation
Entrepreneurs are as varied as the types of businesses one can build. These can range from local restaurants to publicly traded technology conglomerates. They can be for-profit or nonprofit ventures. They can be corporations, LLCs, or sole proprietorships. Which is to say that entrepreneurship is a broad topic, and broad topics are tough to cover in any depth. So we’ll take this opportunity to narrow it down by describing the type of entrepreneurship we’ll explore.
As a working definition, we mean entrepreneurs starting businesses that warrant venture financing. This isn’t to say that an entrepreneur or business must take venture financing. But the types of businesses these entrepreneurs want to build and the opportunities they represent warrant it. By using venture capital as the threshold, it implies a number of things about both the businesses and the entrepreneurs.
About venture-backed businesses: Venture capitalists are looking for businesses that can quickly and efficiently scale to multi-billion-dollar IPOs. It’s as simple as that. Very few of them do, of course, but the potential must be there. This means that the business is doing something new — more than likely, something no one has done before. It means the business will be disrupting a large market or industry, which is why the economic opportunity is so great. It means that it can achieve scale in a very short period of time with relatively little capital. This is why software-based companies tend to dominate venture investment — because bits and bytes scale better than atoms.
Some great examples of these businesses include Uber, GoPro, and Amazon. Uber has completely disrupted the taxi and town car industry with a new model based on smartphones — a new model, we might add, that is being applied to every vertical imaginable and what’s becoming known as the “Uberization” of a category. Amazon started by revolutionizing online book sales and ended up changing the way we buy everything. And GoPro took on Sony, JVC, Canon, and the like by cracking the code on high-quality POV video capture. The latter is one of the premier companies at the nexus of entrepreneurship and adventure sports, having initially focused on surfing and eventually raising more than $200 million in funding on its way to an IPO.
About venture-backed entrepreneurs: At the risk of sounding cliché, these people want to change the world. Keep in mind, though, that this is more of a quantitative measure than a qualitative one. These people have a vision for the future and a unique ability to make it a reality. Indeed, they are a bit crazy. Crazy like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. What sets this type of entrepreneur apart from others is that their ideas are most often met with disbelief or rejection. This is because what they are proposing either doesn’t make any sense or is nearly impossible to pull off. Yet they are so passionate about the vision that the resistance to the idea just adds fuel to the fire.
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The 2014 bike review season is kicking off at Max Gladwell. We’ll be starting with three spectacular rides, one each in the categories of cyclocross, enduro, and electric.
Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod Disc Black Inc.
“With its BallisTec carbon construction and SAVE Stays, the SuperX is lighter than most road bikes, unmatched in stiffness-to-weight and smoother than a belgian beer. Nothing will accelerate faster, corner harder or be easier to shoulder than the SuperX.”
Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon
“Two decades of evolution at Santa Cruz brought us here. An entirely new frame, new wheel size and new perspective on what a 6” travel bike can conquer. Bronson is not some rehashed 27.5″ tribute act to anything else in our range. With a 67° head angle and 150mm travel yet massive uphill capability, Bronson screamed onto the scene like a Group B rally car for the Syndicate’s Enduro World Series campaign.”
Specialized Turbo S
“The Specialized Turbo combines speed and style through an innovative electric-assist motor, advanced electronics, and sleek design. Capable of a top speed of 45 Km/h, the Turbo delivers superhuman power to anyone who rides it.”
Look for the official reviews to debut on The Huffington Post.