Being first isn’t enough. Being fast isn’t enough. Being dedicated isn’t enough.
What is enough? Let’s find out after I make some jokes at my own expense.
Let’s start with mistake one.
MISTAKE 1: Entrepreneurship and cyberfuturism are not the same thing!
What is “cyberfuturism” ? It’s a new form of futurism I just made up because it sounds cool and because I am an intellectual we are allowed to make up cool new words. I potentially also get credit for making up other cool words like “cryptoequity” and astrobleme (actually that was my grandad).
Problem alert! Writing about cool possible future realities and making prototypes that attract the attention of other intellectuals not the same as making a product that gets enough user traction to keep you and your startup alive. Woo woo I organized the first non-profit foundation vote on a blockchain. What will it get me? Probably a footnote in some historian’s treatment of blockchain governance. Maybe even an honorary degree at some university you’ve never heard of…
MISTAKE 2: Never bet against a nerd utopia on a blockchain!
If first you hear about a nerd money that is only good for gambling and speculation, what would you say? It will never catch on… Not only that, if you are a true hater you might make a browser plugin for your favorite nerd news website that allows you to block stories about that nerd money.
Until you realize that bank money was also built on a pyramid scheme and that nerd money is also good for trading contraband things on the internet. And it also turns out to be tremendously good for funding other nerd utopias…
Leading to… WINNING
MISTAKE 3: You must LOVE niche audiences
There are hippies around the globe that will allocate all the hours of their day just to finding something fairer. There are libertarians who will flush anything made by a state down the toilet just because. There are children growing up today that will never touch fiat currencies because they are dirty and smell bad.
In the world of crypto you have to LOVE and HATE these weird niche audiences. Erik Voorhees and Roger Ver may be psycho nutjobs but you have to LOVE them, as hard as that may be. Brock may be a space cowboy hippie king but please please drink the koolaid at least once. You probably deserve better but better hasn’t been built yet….
Until then there are sparkle ponies and Vitalik’s amazing collection of Hello Kitty collectables and extremely rare world of warcraft items (cough cough, remember mistake 2).
MISTAKE 4: Don’t wait for a government to be your mommy
If you believe Roger Ver, the state is an evil monolith waiting to crush you. Bwahaha! Actually, in my experience, governments are full of nice people who have better things to do than read the fulminations of internet libertarians. Mostly they just want you to pay your taxes and prevent the life savings of grandma from being stolen by some big-haired telemarketer.
However, because they aren’t paying attention to what you are doing, oh nerd with a vision!, you can’t wait for them to care or leave them long voice memos asking for their opinion and expect them to respond. You must do something truly crazy. Just do something innovative!
MISTAKE 5: Build towards something freakin’ awesome!
Look, I know that what I just posted above is illegal just about everywhere. Holy guacamole! Once I went to burning man and then tried to do something cool and they told me I had to fill out lots of paperwork and get a ton of permits and then that it was really too bad because it was impossible. If burning man is supposed to be some libertarian paradise what about the rest of the world?
Guess what? It doesn’t frickin’ matter. If what you are building towards is awesome just keep building the little bits and pieces until the larger dream comes together. The trick is to make sure the vision is awesome, that the pieces complement each other, and you are building with an engineering mind rather than helter-skelter.
After all, at some point, Mothra may come attack and the free world will realize that the Godzilla-mechsuit-DAO you’ve been building in secret is just what the world needs. Now rise, o champion of the free world!