By Nathan Mullings
I have an admiration for people, especially startup founders, who are able to think for themselves, and come to their own conclusions. I like to think of myself as someone capable of doing things differently. There are many superlatives I describe myself by also, but I will save that for another time. For now, I just want to briefly explore the essence of what thinking differently actually means.
After a temporary consideration of what makes an original doer, I’ve decided it boils down to 2 key things that dissimilates these people from everyone else. The first key thing is the ability to recognize the choices and options available to the person. Here’s the difference – a person who does not do things differently, will only see the common path as a choice. A startup founder who thinks the only way they are going to be successful is if they raise money from investors. They are not able to see any other way of being successful. A person who does things differently however, will see many more options available to them. What if instead of raising money from investors, I move back in with my parents and save money? What if instead of hiring I automate everything? What if I can make the money by building something users/customers actually want and then sell it to them?
The second thing, is actually having the audacity to follow through on the lesser known path. A person may be able to see the alternative choices, but then decide to do the same as everyone else. After all, it is the safe choice, and they won’t be judged nearly as harshly.
Taking an example from the top of the pile, the crème de la crème, the poster boy of doing things differently…
Mr Elon Musk.
First Elon recognized that he had the option to start a rocket company… Then, he had the courage to follow through with creating a rocket company! The fact that so far he seems to be pulling it off is almost irrelevant. I won’t go into all the other things he’s done/doing. I’ve read enough about him for a lifetime. What is interesting is how Elon generates these options for himself that are so different – By reasoning from first principles – Boiling things down to their fundamentals and building upwards. He realises there are other conclusions to be drawn from the same information.
Most tech startup founders are genuinely doing things differently. Generally speaking, the idea is new and innovative. However, what founders often don’t realise is, it’s not just the product that should different. How about innovating on the revenue model? How about exploring how employees are paid? How about changing the way meetings are carried out? There are many other ways to do things differently, in every aspect of the business, that gets overlooked because the choice isn’t even recognized in the first place.
I often say being rich, is not having lots of money. Being rich is having lots of choices. We feel rich when we have lots of money because of the choices it opens up. If we simply recognize the amount of choices already available to us, we can be rich right now. So start right now. Be rich.