In his 2015 TedTalk, American businessman and Idealab founder Bill Gross quotes the legendary Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
The same is true for many entrepreneurs with great ideas and the world in their sights. The sad reality is that most people will invest thousands of dollars and hours of their time into a new venture just to lose it all a few years. According to Investopedia, in 2019, the failure rate of startup was around 90%.
This happens for many reasons such as a lack of resources or research. In Gross’ experience, even startups with the greatest ideas end up shuttering doors for one primary reason – timing.
When his organization, Idealab, created Z.com, it was designed to be the first entertainment platform of its kind, was well funded, had a strong strategy in place, and even enlisted Hollywood talent to help launch the platform. In the late 90s though, streaming was not as accessible to internet users and required complex adjustments in their tech to be able to watch videos online. Z.com shut down in 2003 but two years later, Youtube was born, and the rest is history.
Sometimes the potential of a blue ocean is a risk worth taking. Other times, it’s best to wait for the waves to settle to have a safe swim.
Watch Gross’ TedTalk on Youtube (not Z.com) here.