Victus Spiritus


What to do when your gurus are light years ahead of you?

15 Apr 2009

We'll probably never be as brilliant at understanding startups as Paul Graham or as adept at marketing acumen as Seth Godin.  These gentlemen have developed great mastery over their respective fields.  Yet somehow these luminaries manage to distill their virtuoso visions into simple enough messages that someone like myself can appreciate the concepts and intellectually gorge upon their shared thoughts.  While we may never be as good as today's greatest entrepreneur's at what they do, the good news is we don't have to be. 

Throughout history time and again innovators enriched their cultures (and themselves) with creations designed to satisfy needs they perceived.  Simple hunters were empowered by the invention of the spear.  Artists were provided with tools and inks to help leave cave paintings for thousands of years.  Cities were enabled out of the imagination of the first farmer.  Architects were applauded by kings for their designs of monolithic tombs.  Steam engines capitalized on a need for power.  More recently the internet exploded with information, with it there came great demand for organizing the ever growing content.  Search engine companies capitalized on this need.

This isn't another revelation on being genuine.  We have in our power, at this very moment, a path to building our own empires.  We each have our own perspective of our own neighborhood, our own slice of reality.  Our daily activities, social groups, and prior knowledge are all we need.  We live in a continuum of dynamic change where new needs and opportunities swarm about us all the time.  Here are some general guidelines to begin tapping into that "resource":

  1. Narrow your focus on a particular need you (and maybe some friends) recognize and can best address.
  2. Your initial pursuit will alter your perception just enough to discover other even greater needs.
  3. By tackling these needs in novel ways, you completely change the landscape.
  4. This evens the odds between you and the gurus, so you won't have to compete directly with the geniuses that have succeeded before you.  We'll all be starting from scratch.