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如何才能创办一家公司,然后让它被科技巨擘收购?

Quora 2015年02月28日

针对标题中这个网友提出的“奇葩”的问题,美国的知名问答网站Quora指出:最优秀的创业者的出发点都是基于自己的个人经历和特殊才能。一位已经成功创办5家公司的(连续创业者)迈克尔•沃尔夫对这个问题给出了发人深省的回答。

    

    回答者:迈克尔•沃尔夫。他创办了五家初创公司,且数量仍在增加。

    我想用我最喜欢的一个人的想法作为开头,这段话来自亚历克斯•哈里的文章《梦想的阴暗之面》(Shadowland of Dreams):

    “许多年轻人对我说他们想当一名作家。我经常给予他们鼓励,同时也告诫他们‘当一名作家’与写作完全是两码事。大多数怀抱作家梦的年轻人其实只为追名逐利,殊不知那打字机前的写作过程是如此漫长而孤独。‘你要有写作的欲望。’我告诉他们,‘而不是只想着当一名作家。’”

    “其实,写作是一项需要孤军奋战,报酬甚微的工作。受到幸运之神眷顾、一举成名的作家仅是少数,更多的人壮志难酬。即便最成功的作家也会经历一段默默无闻和生活窘困的时期。我便是其中一位。”

    1999年和2014年,我们经历过两次创业潮,许多人突然发现他们“想做一名创业者”。刚毕业的MBA学生本可以加入高盛或麦肯锡,但他们却选择前往旧金山。甲骨文或惠普等大公司里的元老突然跳槽,原因是他们不希望与下一次淘金热“失之交臂”。

    这些人往往很快就能找到志同道合的人,他们都怀揣创业梦想,一番头脑风暴之后产生一些想法,从中选出看起来合理的创意,据此设计一款产品,然后买一辆手推车,静等着收购要约蜂拥而至的时候,将大把的钱运到银行。

    但许多人的希望都会落空。创业就像亚历克斯•哈里描述的写作一样:由一心想“成为创业者”的人创立的公司往往做不到最好。最好的创业者通常对某个具体问题有见地并充满激情,有解决这个问题的动力,他们会全身心投入到公司建设,只想着让其发展壮大。他们很少会参加技术会议,公司成立派对上也看不到他们的身影,迅速被收购也不是他们的主要目标。

    恰恰相反,那些希望“成为创业者”而一夜暴富的人,所提出的想法没有真正反映出独有的洞察力或兴趣。他们成立的电子商务网站大同小异,几乎没有准入门槛,或者他们在高德纳公司的报告中读到,一个新的市场预计会达到数十亿的规模,然后便拿一款山寨产品一头扎进去。他们一定会遭遇无力越过的障碍,或者没有独到的洞察力去打败竞争对手。

    最优秀的创业者,其创业灵感都源自个人的经历和天资。他们的想法往往有违直觉,最初看来似乎不可能实现。建议大家一定要读读保罗•格雷厄姆的经典之作——《如何获得创业灵感》。他最好的一个看法就是:

    “创业的点子是被‘发现’的,而不是被‘发明’的。在 YC创业营,我们会把从创始人自身经历当中自然产生的灵感叫做‘内生的’创业灵感。最成功的创业公司几乎都是这样发展起来的。”

    现在,许多内生型创始人也希望获得财富,他们的投资者和员工同样想获得回报,但他们也会用数年时间应付可能遇到的挫折,进行反复尝试。他们知道自己能够获得财富,这是因为他们在知识与热情方面具有优势,而不是因为从事了一种有利可图的职业——“创业者”。

    Answer by Michael Wolfe, Five startups and counting

    I’ll start with one of my favorite thoughts, by Alex Haley in his essay “The Shadowland of Dreams”:

    Many a young person tells me he wants to be a writer. I always encourage such people, but I also explain that there’s a big difference between “being a writer” and writing. In most cases these individuals are dreaming of wealth and fame, not the long hours alone at the typewriter. “You’ve got to want to write,” I say to them, “not want to be a writer.”

    The reality is that writing is a lonely, private and poor-paying affair. For every writer kissed by fortune, there are thousands more whose longing is never requited. Even those who succeed often know long periods of neglect and poverty. I did.

    When the startup economy booms, like it did in 1999 and like it is again in 2014, many people suddenly discover they want to “be an entrepreneur.” Newly-minted MBAs who otherwise would have joined Goldman Sachs or McKinsey instead head west to San Francisco. Big company lifers from Oracle or HP abruptly jump ship, not wanting to “miss out” on the next gold rush.

    Too often, these folks quickly find a like-minded co-founder who also wants to join the “startup scene”, brainstorm a few ideas, pick one that seems plausible, hack up a product, then buy a wheelbarrow they can use to take their money to the bank when the acquisition offers start to roll in.

    They almost never need that wheelbarrow. Starting a company is as Alex Haley described writing: the best companies are usually not started by people who want to “be an entrepreneur.” They are started by people who are knowledgable and passionate about a specific problem, are driven to solve it, and then get busy building a company to bring it to life. They rarely go to tech conferences, can’t be found at launch parties, and they certainly don’t have a quick acquisition as their primary goal.

    In contrast, those who want to get rich by “being an entrepreneur” often come up with ideas that don’t really reflect any proprietary insight or interest. They’ll launch an undifferentiated e-commerce site with few barriers to entry, or they’ll read a Gartner report about a new enterprise market predicted to be worth billions, and they’ll jump into it with a me-too product. When they hit the inevitable bumps in the road, they may not have the drive to power over them, or they may not have the proprietary insight to outsmart competitors.

    The best entrepreneurs work on ideas that grow out of their personal experiences and aptitudes. Their ideas often are counter-intuitive and don’t seem likely to work at first. I highly recommend this essay by Paul Graham: How to Get Startup Ideas. One of Paul’s best thoughts is:

    The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not “think up” but “notice.” At YC we call ideas that grow naturally out of the founders’ own experiences “organic” startup ideas. The most successful startups almost all begin this way.”

    Now, many of these “organic” founders also want to get rich, as do their investors and the employees who join them, but they also expect to spend years toiling away with lots of setbacks and trial and error. They know that if they get rich it will be because they are working on an idea where they have an edge in terms of knowledge and enthusiasm, not because they have joined a lucrative profession called “being an entrepreneur.”

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