Why Your Startup Idea Isn’t Crazy Enough
When you describe what your business does, does it make people laugh? It should.
I used to dismiss crazy startup ideas outright. Now my colleagues and I brag about the bat-bleep insane ideas we haven’t gotten to yet.
When I was a younger entrepreneur, before my first exit and even before the bone-crushing impact of my very first failure, all I wanted to do was bring sensible ideas to a well-heeled and hungry market.
Until I learned — the hard way — what stagnation was.
Your Idea Should Be “Disruptive”
About 20 years ago, an investor shot down an idea of mine that I was not only super-excited about, but one that had already begun generating both customer and investor interest. Just not his interest.
His problem with my amazing idea: “It’s not crazy enough,” he said. “You’ll probably be successful with it and make some good money with it, maybe great money. But it’s just not big enough or disruptive enough for me to want to play.”
I immediately hated him. In fact, that moment is where my distaste for the term “disruptive” got its start. And just to show him how wrong he was, I went into overdrive on the idea the very next day. I built a company that was immediately successful, profitable, award-winning, and made me great money. No investors allowed.
Intrepid Media was the first social network for writers and, in fact, one of the first social networks before there was such a thing as social networks (circa 1999). But it didn’t turn customers into product like Facebook. It scoffed at the textual limits of Twitter. It rested on the laurels of quality over commercialism.
Those laurels eventually won out. After a solid 12-year run, Intrepid Media just sort of flatlined. It went from making me great money to good money to “meh” money. I shut it down when I hopped into a crazy venture to teach computers how to write news stories.
Oh, for the record, that investor and I became good friends and remain friends to this day.