Richard Goosen: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking at Web 2.0 opportunities?
Mike Sikorsky: The first piece of advice I give to anyone I ever meet is to "just do it and shut up." Thunder in the mouth and lightning in the hand--stop talking. No matter how many books you read, no matter how much stuff you're going to think about, if you don't decide to do it, you're already dead anyway. Action is much better. If you act, you're good.
Second, do not work on things that no one wants. I know that sounds so stupid, but the number of companies I know that build inventory no one wants to buy is so high it's phenomenal. That is why the crowd part to me is so powerful. If you can't get a crowd around your idea, how else are going to get traction around your idea? I think if you just do it and not focus on building inventory, you're probably okay.
Third, you are probably going to screw up once to twice anyways, so you might as well start screwing up or blowing up whatever it is right now. I am not trying evangelize this idea of not being prepared and nor reading, but I also don't want to evangelize this idea of people who go away for 10 years before they want to start their company. It's like saving sex for old age. No matter how smart your team is, no matter how smart anything is, if you don't have a product that people want, you're going to have to dump whatever you're on and get that anyway. If you get those two things right and you're doing something that people like, the rest will work itself out.
Entrepreneurs are always worried that someone is going to steal their idea. Or they're worried they're structuring their capital deals wrong. I tell them, "what are you worried about?"
Of course you want to plan, of course you want to think, of course you want to read, of course, you want to do every possible thing that you can imagine to take the risk out of your company. But don't over-plan.
Paul Graham says, "my opinion is always best." So I always send anyone on coaching or trying to help out to www.paulgraham.com and make them read his essays because he takes you through all these same points, but much better than I do.
"It is not easy for a man to adjust himself to the truth that the human race is such an inferior order of animal life, or that his own family is not much better than the human race in general.
It is natural for newcomers to expect a great deal of the family to which they belong.
In the end I decided I must consider *myself* my family entirely. I saw that I could not do much about the other members of the family. I decided I must do as much as possible about myself.
When I stopped expecting anything important of anybody excepting myself I began to find many things of worth in everybody else that I had never before notice, and I began to look upon the worthless things I saw with amusement.
This is an important achievement in the growth of a soul, for *it* is true that one is one's self the human race insofar as the achievement of excellence is concerned. It is not permissible or proper to make demand of anyone but one's self. Nothing can come of it. One cannot demand of a father or a mother, of a brother or a sister, of a wife or a son or a daughter. One can demand only of one's self, and to all others give understanding or love or both."
"It's not enough to put words together. One has to know something. One has to work at knowing something. One has to study and have something to say about the world. In short, one needs to be a scientist."
"I only wanted to tell people honestly: look, look at how badly you live, how boring are your lives. The important thing is that people should understand this; if they do understand this, they will certainly invent a different and a far better life. Man will become better only once we have shown him as he is."
Almost to a 100 pages, and while useful tidbits are spliced throughout the text, the book's extremely dull and monotone prose coupled with its overly repetitious factoids make the book less and less enjoyable.
Regardless, I'm trudging through it hoping to be a little "crowd" smarter by the end.
"Through accident, through luck, by design, or as a consequence of long earnest trying, a man transports his soul from where it was in the beginning to a realm in which the action of all creativeness is in operation, and consequently he himself is involved, by now quite naturally, in the schedule of the miracle of life itself, so that anything he does is virtually done for him. It is done swiftly and magnificently. The man himself, as a man, does little. He foes along with the schedule, as if his soul had lathed on an immemorial means of transportation, himself nothing more than a free rider. It is impossible to otherwise account for the music of Mozart or the plays of Shakespeare. These are works which came to pass as enormous events of nature come to pass. The man to whom this latching onto schedule happens is both fortunate and unfortunate, for once the latching on has taken place he is a man who may never again be merely an animal body in a material world, and he therefore can never again be satisfied with the simple pleasures of an animal body.
Any man who meets the schedule, latches onto it, goes along with it, keeps it, helps it, must in the end also be driven forward by it, and to be driven can often be a painful thing. As there are few men involved in a similar manner with schedule, such a man is necessarily more alone than ever too."