Monday, March 16, 2009

Progress on the Entrepreneurial Front... Playing the Game


Being an entrepreneur is definitely not a job of quick rewards. If you are thinking of starting a company, or being your boss, and expect things to happen at a snap of a finger, you'll be disappointed. But, if you are willing to be persistent, stubborn, and combine some naiveness with passion, you may just have a shot.

I've been at this thing seriously for 7 months now. In that time I've taken classes, networked, gotten familiar with the area and what it has to offer, familiarized myself with Stanford, and have taken action with my projects. I feel that I've been setting up my chessboard. I'm getting all my pieces set up so when I really start playing I'll be prepared for any obstacles my opponent throws my way. I've researched and inquired about everything from the patenting process to funding, technical development to marketing. It's less costly and timely to learn from other people's mistakes then making my own.

As a result of doing a large breadth of activity at once, opportunities keep showing their faces like that whack-a-mole game at the arcade. So, at that moment, I need explore the opportunity as it presents itself. The whole thing is a game. The reason why I need to be so vague in my posts is because as in poker, you can never show your full hand and still expect to win.

Right now I'm in stealth mode with a product I'm developing. I cannot tell everyone I come across because much of a competitive edge is in the 'first to market' strategy. That is how Amazon made it big. They were the first on-line book store and they had time to make mistakes so they could get it right, leaving all the brick and mortar stores in the dust. If you are too late in the game, you run the risk of becoming a copycat brand, trying to ride on the coattails of another's success.

The only exception to that rule would be if you can vastly improve upon or redesign what is currently on the market. Apple with its ipod was certainly not first to market with their mp3 player. But they did greatly improve and redesign the industry. They incorporated a music player (itunes), with a store where people could easily buy and download their music onto their uniquie player. The ipod's design along with the buying and listening experience were for the first time streamlined, making their product a total sensation.

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