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Posts Tagged ‘“Timing is everything”


Entrepreneurial Wisdom from Bill Gross

What’s most important for the success of your project?

Is it the team? funding? timing? idea? business model?

Recently I heard Bill Gross, one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of this century, offer a compelling answer – one that changes my views on the formula for success.

This blog is a summary of Bill Gross’ excellent talk.

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5 Key Success Factors

Bill investigated how five key factors affected the success of the 125 companies in his portfolio at Idealab and 125 companies outside of his portfolio.

The factors he considered were:

    1. The Idea: How New is It? Is there a unique truth in the idea? Are there competitive moats you can build around it?
    2. The Team and the Execution: How efficient is the team? How effective is it? How adaptable?
    3. The Business Model: Do you have a clear path to revenues?
    4. The Funding: Can companies that can out money-raise others succeed where the others would fail?
    5. The Timing: Are you too early? Just early? Too late. Right on time? Did that matter a lot?

    Of these 250 companies, Bill picked 10 in each category: five companies that turned into billion-dollar companies, and five that everyone thought would be billion-dollar companies but failed.

    The question: Which variables accounted more for successes?

    What was the MOST Important Factor?

    The No. 1 thing that mattered was TIMING.

    Timing accounted for 42 percent of the successes relative to failures.

    No. 2 was team and execution.

    No. 3 was the idea.

    No. 4 was business model, and last was funding.

    The Explanation

    Funding: Much to the disappointment of the venture capital business, funding as a key success factor came in last. As Bill explains, “Funding mattered the least because you can make a company succeed even if you don’t raise the money.”

    Business Model: The business model ranked low because you can start without a business model. Take Facebook and Twitter, both of which launched without a revenue model.

  1. Some of the best companies add their business model after they find product market fit and demonstrate rapid growth.Idea: You morph the idea. The market is going to change your idea. Here Bill Gross quotes the famous business philosopher, boxer Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face.”

    As Bill points out, the way the market actually reacts to your first product is a lot like getting punched in the face. Your plan may be good, but it’s going to change.

    Team and Execution: The team is the one that has to look at the market and adapt their product to what they see. If you don’t have a good, complementary team, it’s just not going to happen. But, it’s not the most important factor.

    So why did timing come out on top?

    Timing is Everything

    Sometimes you might have a great idea, but the market just isn’t ready for it. And sometimes, the timing is just right to launch your business.

    Take Airbnb as an example – everybody thinks Airbnb is an incredible business model.

    It is a good business model, BUT “the Airbnb model” had been done multiple times before Airbnb became successful.

    One of the things that accounted for Airbnb’s huge success is that it came out right when the huge recession hit around the world… People needed extra money badly. People were willing to rent out their rooms or their homes.

    Similar timing helped Uber.

    SpaceX was founded and then the Columbia Space Shuttle accident left the U.S. without a reliable launch vehicle.

    So what can you do about it?

    Knowing how critical timing and market acceptance is to your business, what do you do?

    Two options…

    First, you should actually look at your business, the uptake of your product, and the dynamics of the marketplace of your customer to see if they are really ready for what you have.

    If not, adjust your offering to be what they actually need, right now.

    Second, adjust your burn rate (how much money you spend) so you can last long enough so you’re there when the market is actually ready for what you have

  2. Let’s create a world of abundance

    It’s incredible that we now have the data to analyze and rank order the success factors of startups.

    Beyond timing, funding, team… there are many others worth considering, including the proper use of exponential technologies (e.g. 3D printing, cloud computing, A.I., sensors, etc.) and use of the crowd (crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, etc.).

    This is the sort of content and conversations we discuss at my 250-person executive mastermind group called Abundance 360. The program is ~88% filled. You can apply here.

    Share this email with your friends, especially if they are interested in any of the areas outlined above.

    If you’d like to view Bill Gross’ incredibly eloquent talk (which he gave both at DLD and TED), here is a link to Bill’s talk. It’s brief and very worth your time:

    We are living toward incredible times where the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing

Patsy Z shared on FB via Peter H. Diamandis

There is nothing more successful than an idea whose time has come!! Indeed…

What’s most important for the success of your project? Is it the team? funding? timing? idea? business model?
Recently I heard Bill Gross, one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of this century,…

History of Innovation: “Timing is everything”?

History research demonstrates that plenty of valid and sensible innovations never stuck or were adopted by societies. Why?

For example, the printing press could not make much sense in the 16th century Europe if industrial production of current papers were not made available. What was the use of using printing press on archaic parchments and papyrus…?

The influential book “In search of excellence” by Tom Peters was researched in the 70’s but published in 1982, in the right timing for its concepts to take off:  The US was facing around 20% interest rates, 15% inflation, and 11% unemployment (worse than today conditions) and then Donald Reagan was elected President after Jimmy Carter.

“In search of excellence” was mostly promoting the concept of “Brand Yourself”, or everyone must be a brand. The “faceless employee or Badge #129” was being outsourced either to lower cost locations such as China or India, or to software algorithms.

The quality logic is that you have to pay attention to your workforce, the culture for tending to details if you are serious about competing with Japanese quality products…

Currently, KIA cars or Subaru before it are very high in quality: They can run 30,000 miles without ever having to go into a shop.

Timing is everything“.

For example, the US billionaires in the 19th century were mostly born around 1835. They generated their wealth in the railroad, telegraph communication, postal facilities (containers, bill of lading…) oil production, refineries, distribution, media, publishing…Most of the current billionaires are inheritances of the wealth and constitute the “elite class” of 1% richest…

Another example is the top innovators in computer and internet business: They were born around 1955 and enjoyed the facilities of timely innovations and facilities to mark 10,000 hours of practice sessions.

More details

Malcolm Gladwell said in the interview: “When we drive a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Volt, we are sending this powerful message “These are my values. This is the kind of world I want.”

The declarative value of consumer choices, and the public statement made by consumers in their brand choices, is an enormously powerful tool that has consequences on the economy, the community we live in, the agricultural systems…”

If you think long and hard on a choice, it makes perfect sense of what message you are sending.

There is a paradox. You cannot just focus on “your own brand” to be successful: You badly need the horizontal network of peers and satisfied clients, the extended family of professionals as producers and consumers of quality services.

Note 1:  This post was inspired by Debbie Millman ”Brand thinking and other Noble Pursuits”. This book is a collection of 22 interviews with known brand designers and entrepreneurs such as: Wally Olins, Grant McCraken, Phil Duncan, Dori Tunstall, Brian Collins, Virginia Postrel, Bruce Duckworth, David Butler, Stanley Hainsworth, Cheryl Swanson, Joe Duggy, Margaret Youngblood, Seth Godin, Dan Formosa, Bill Moggridge, Sean Adams, Daniel Pink, DeeDee Gordon, Karim Rashid, Alex Bogusky, Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell

Note 2: Debbie is president of design division at Sterling Brands and president of the AIGA design association




May 2023

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