You likely aren’t, and that’s okay

Why are so many entrepreneurs obsessed with, and under the impression that the problem they’re solving is “changing the world”?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole conversation over the past few days. Have talked with lots of folks on both sides of this little debate that DHH, Jason Fried, Keith Rabois and others have been having.

I still believe strongly that there’s an extreme imbalance on what’s a healthy amount of work and the rat race is something I’ve opted to hop out of. But I think there’s more to the story and, as with most things, it’s a bit more nuanced.

So many entrepreneurs have been led to believe that their idea is “changing the world”, spurred on by VCs who have no real skin in the game while “Elon Musk” gets thrown around as an example of why working non-stop is the key to success.

But here’s the thing: The “greats” aren’t “great” because they worked lots of hours. They’re “great” because they worked lots of insanely productive hours. They’re “great” because they know how to laser focus on exactly what needs to be done, not so they can work less*, but instead so they can do the important work* more.

I don’t believe VCs like Keith Rabois are wholesale saying every founder should work themselves in to the ground. They’re not saying “work 80 hours a week at all cost!” as though that’s causation for “world changing” success.

Those VCs just happen to be focused on finding and investing in the Elon Musks of the world who are really great at high-impact work.

So where I think the real problem lies is that too many entrepreneurs are being led to believe that the work their doing is, in fact, “changing the world”.

As though that’s the end goal of any startup. They aren’t content with potentially making millions…they’re only successful if they make BILLIONS!!!

The tech bubble has made far too many believe & get caught up in their own hype.

Hype that, yes, is sometimes encouraged by sloppy VCs. But more often it’s driven by the “gold rush” perception that many first-time founders falsely believe.

Too many founders buy the narrative (self-inflicted or otherwise) that their idea will revolutionize the world.

But you know what? It’s okay to “just” be great at building a business. Everything you do doesn’t have to be sugar coated and sensationalized.

Take a step back and be honest with yourself. Not being the next Elon Musk is okay. Trying to be someone else is a recipe for failure anyways.