“The key to success is to find a secret” – when I read this pithy point of view, I resonate whole-heartedly. It’s not the prosaic admonition we heard along growing up that you have to be hard – working, be persistent, be disciplined etc. to achieve success. No, the actual secret is to find a secret that others have not yet. It’s inherently identical to what Peter Thiel stated in his famous book, from zero to one. His version is that no competition is the best competition, because you found a secret that nobody else can challenge you.
It holds true for either a company or an individual.
The secret that I interpret is not only to spot an unmet needs in the market but also to come up with a secret weapon to solve the problem, fulfill the needs. For example, Google’s founders are able to find the unmet searching needs and came up with a superiorly better engine than the existing provider Yahoo’s service.
As individuals, if we don’t fill in as a unique and extraordinary value contributor, we are doomed to earn just a competitive margin income, be it a fast food worker in a restaurant or a research analyst in glamorous investment banks. There is nothing to complain about other than focusing on searching the key.
Certainly, finding a secret is the very first step, it’s the Arabic number one sitting in the first place, then the subsequent zeros can be added on and on to form an astronomically large number, i.e. a massive success.
Even we reach both the “finding secret” and “figuring out solution” stages, it’s still not there yet, a big leap is needed. it’s a leap of self-reinforcing, replicable commercial production. There are quite a lot of extremely smart and generous scientists who don’t care that much about this step, leading to a financially distressed life, that is so unfortunate and lamentable. Nicola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current and numerous other discoveries and devices, died in poverty. It is not the right way a society ought to treat such a great contributor to human beings’ welfare, but it’s to some extent also his own negligence in pursuing even a tiny modest mundane success.
Hence, to find a commercial conduit or channel to capitalize is the subsequent obstacle. I am greatly bogged down by this step. A vague thought is that more and more platform kind of companies such as Uber, Alibaba, TaskRabbit, Apple Store etc. aiming to connect providers and users directly will one day flourish and replace most of the conventional value propagating systems, making it possible to have numerous infant entrepreneurs to grow up rapidly and healthily.
As the sage investor Duan Yongping said, the core is always the substance, don’t chase hot firms that are just good at marketing themselves. However, in actual business operation, he never had overlooked the power of effective and smart marketing in running his companies early on.