“I would really like to meet with you soon to talk about a can’t-miss billion dollar idea that I have!”
That’s a message I received via email recently. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I get messages like that quite frequently.
Lest you think I’m making fun of the person that sent that email, I’m most definitely not. In fact, if I’m going to invest in a startup, I definitely want the CEO to believe that their idea could in fact be a billion dollar one.
Side note: I’m not currently in the market to invest in startups, but if I was, these are the five things I take into account when considering an investment. You’ll notice that the potential upside is #5, not #1.
However, I don’t want the CEO thinking they actually have a billion dollar idea, because billion dollar ideas DO NOT EXIST.
Billion dollar leadership, now that exists.
Billion dollar effort, that also exists.
Billion dollar teams? Heck yeah.
But ideas, well, I just don’t believe in them.
The idea isn’t the thing. Hard work, passion, leadership, the team…those are the things that make a company great.
So please, don’t try to woo me (or anyone) with your killer idea. Woo us with how hard you’re going to work, and how you’ve pulled together amazing people, and how long your runway is. The idea is secondary to all of those things.
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Hi, I’m Jeff. I’ve founded a few companies – including Spunlogic, 48in48, and my current company, Dragon Army. If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for my email list. And of course, you can reach me on Twitter and LinkedIn.