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The Overnight Success Myth

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Are you an early adopter? If so you are one of less than 15% of the general population. You are someone who reaches out to new ideas and technologies, and starts using them well ahead of everyone else. Early adopters pave the way for the rest to follow – early adopters saw the benefits of the internet, or personal computers, or mobile phones when these were only just developing. Early adopters recognized the potential of cryptocurrencies, and many other innovations.

Meanwhile the rest of us get on with our daily lives, and only after some time do we catch up and start understanding and using whatever the latest new thing is. This applies in culture too, so that the latest TV show or music sensation starts almost as a secret.
This has an effect on how new businesses expect to raise their funds. Let me explain.

By the time the other 85% of the population get round to noticing the latest new thing, it is already well-established. So for example the ‘sudden’ explosion in i-phone use only came when the device and operating system was already well established, but the mass of people thought that what they were buying into was the new thing. Because of this we are all fooled by the concept of the overnight sensation – the product or service which appears out of nowhere and then skyrockets to mass acceptance. Take almost any of the tech giants, and the perception is that companies such as Facebook or Google appeared suddenly and were rapidly taken up by the masses. Back in 2008 Facebook users amounted to ‘only’ 100,000,000 – a perfectly respectable number of course, but some distance from the current 2.8 billion. And yet we think that Facebook and the rest went from a standing start to world domination in a matter of moments. The same could be said of the cryptoverse – ten years ago: nothing. Now, on the edge of becoming a world mass movement.

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Taking the growth of Bitcoin as an example, even in 2016 you wouldn’t find too many mentions in the mainstream media, whereas now the press has woken up to the cryptoverse (often thinking that Bitcoin is the only currency), and many late-adopters at least have an idea what cryptocurrencies are. The problem is that encouraged by the media, they think of Bitcoin as an overnight success.
This attitude runs deep, and it’s shared by many new startups that I see. They expect to go from ‘zeroes to heroes’ in no time at all. In fact their whole business plan is based on instant acceptance in their chosen market, but sorry guys, it doesn’t work like that. You have to put the time in and do all the ‘grunt work’, or as the actor Adrien Brody observed: “My dad told me, ‘It takes fifteen years to be an overnight success’, and it took me seventeen and a half years.” And then suddenly, there he was onscreen, with everyone praising this great ‘new’ actor!

If you’re a startup, the cult of overnight success is a very dangerous belief to get into, because it means you are indulging in what I call ‘Hope Marketing’, where rather than controlling every step of your journey towards success, you are relying on some mysterious external force – one that is unlikely to ever actually come to your aid. And yet businesses fail to engage with the simple fact that they have to be very serious in following the path of launching their product or service. When I released the first edition of my 6 Proven Steps playbook, included was what I call the ‘Pilot’s Checklist’ which are all the essential points to tick off before ‘takeoff’. Every pilot does this every time before they fly, and who would want to get into a plane where the pilot has skipped any of the steps needed to ensure a safe flight? And yet people who trust in Hope Marketing somehow imagine that it’s OK to skip the checklist, because surely they are going to be an overnight success and don’t need to bother with all those boring safety checks! 

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This is why in the second edition of 6 Proven Steps I’m wagging my finger even more at anyone who thinks that my Pilot’s Checklist isn’t a serious exercise. It is, and anyone who avoids it is taking unnecessary risks with their enterprise, and the funds of their investors. “If you look at iPod, iPod wasn’t viewed as a success, but today it’s viewed as an overnight success. The iPhone was the same way. People were writing about there’s no physical keyboard. Obviously nobody would want it.”  – Tim Cook, CEO Apple telling it like it is, and underscoring my view that there is actually no such thing as sudden success, and that the only way is by serious dedication to taking one step after another. Apple’s i-products didn’t arrive ‘out of nowhere’ – they were the result of years of R&D, and relentless marketing.

So if you’re a startup and you’re seeking funds, please don’t indulge in Hope Marketing – instead get yourself a Pilot’s Checklist, and above all, be serious about your aims.

 

Learn more about the 2nd Edition of 6 Proven Steps here:

https://6steps.online

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