Passionate about the non-trivial
I love many parts of this interview with Zach Klein, co-founding and designer of Vimeo. However, this one section popped out from me:
Any aspiring founder now has multiple ideas. They probably have a list of different startup ideas. How do you assess an idea?
Typically I’ve selected ideas because they were able to attract people that I really wanted to work with and spend some of my life with.
That’s interesting. So you don’t look at how much money you could potentially make from an idea?
Oh, no. Honestly that’s probably to my fault as an entrepreneur. It’s a double-edged sword. But it’s never really been my prioritizing feature.
Yeah, why not? Everybody wants to be a millionaire. From the articles we read, it’s all about how much money they raise and how much they’ve been acquired for, right?
Right. The thing is that you have to live your life while you’re running this company, and because a large percentage of startups never really get anywhere, never lead to that big exit that everyone fantasizes, you might as well design the company you want so you can enjoy yourself, doing something that makes you passionate. Because it’ll be worse when it doesn’t exit and you’ll have just spent two or three years of your life pouring yourself into a trivial idea.
But you never know which idea is trivial…
I’m wagering that the ones that aren’t trivial are the ones that make you most passionate and the ones that you can imagine spending the most of your life devoted to. That’s exactly why I think that rubric is important, to set out to build the company you would never sell, because I think if it doesn’t pass that test then it’s going to be a hard time. Unless it’s immediately financially successful, it’s going to hard to keep yourself enthusiastic to work on it.