Who is an entrepreneur?
My definition of entrepreneur is that an entrepreneur is an agent of change an individual who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of profit, opportunities or the thrill of ordering people around.
In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg arrived in Silicon Valley with a few of his college friends Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes alongside whom he had created the Facebook. Back then Facebook was only live on a few college campuses; however its usage was increasing exponentially. That summer the young company created from a small dorm room on the campus of Harvard University raised their first $500,000 in seed funding and less than a year later over $12 million.Mark Zuckerberg
How is it that these misfits were able to create a billion dollar company and make it look so easy? Do you think Mark and his buddies were much smarter than the geek you sat beside in grade school? Mark was smart but smarts is just part of what it takes to create a billion dollar company. Why haven’t every start-up with an instinctively smart and creative leader and team with a madly world changing and innovative idea been able to create the next billion dollar company? Sadly smarts and creativity alone may not be enough to ensure the success of a company. Success is dependent also on timing and luck.
By the time Mark entered Harvard University in fall of 2004 there were a few social networks launched long before then (Six Degrees, MiGente and BlackPlanet ). Why weren’t they widely accepted and became household names you may ask? In the late 1990s to early 2000s the requisite technology needed to fully use feature rich site’s as social networks are was far too expensive for the average user but by the time Facebook launched in 2004, however, the situation had changed significantly. Access to broadband internet has spread to some of the remotes parts of the world, digital and portable camera usage increased, alongside the advent of fairly cheap hosting from companies such network solutions, host gator and many more this was the right catalyst neededfor the creation of a billion dollar company. If Facebook was created a decade earlier I guarantee you it would not be the success it is today.
Timing and luck plays a major a role and this is acknowledged by many influential figures in the technology industry. Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon.com in 1994 saw the opportunity to create a company that sells books via the internet which was becoming widely accepted by the masses at the time. Bezos quit his well paying job as a hedge fund manager and with his family in toe travelled across the country from New York to settle in Seattle and along the way he created the business plan for Amazon.com.
Over the past few years with the rise and continued increase in the use of mobile devices it is evident where the creation of instagram was well timed. Created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger it launched on October 6, 2010, instagram was an immediate success; the niche of sharing images and videos across mobile devices on a platform created specifically for that purpose was ripe for the taking. By the end of the year after the release of the app the number of registered users increased to 1 million. In April 2012 with a user base of 30 million Facebook agreed to purchase Instagram for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. If instagram was released 5 years earlier when mobile devices at the time could not process high quality images or videos and access to the internet by these devices were limited or painstakingly slow, an app like instagram if created would have failed miserable.
Timing, luck and smarts all have there part to play in assuring success as an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur with a great idea needs to get their timing right and with a sufficient amount of luck will become a success I can guarantee that. Check out Lucky Or Smart? Fifty Pages for the First-Time Entrepreneur Paperback by Bo Peabody.