This guest post was contributed by Tomer Targin*
If the Internet was the new rock and roll, Jeff Bezos (Business Insider)…was its Elvis. I read this sentence a couple of weeks ago and it got me thinking – I found remarkable similarity and finally convinced myself. Fellow entrepreneurs, you are the new rock stars.
I hope my thoughts will convince you:
The first thing that is extremely important for every rock stars is the passion about his/hers songs and words. Think of Guns N’ Roses screaming and kicking on stage. In every word, sound or musical note you can just feel and see the passion dripping out of Axel Rose.
Sometimes I can actually feel if my “passion rate” is enough or not. A good example arouses from our first recruitment period at Yotpo . It took us forever to find our top R&D Ninjas (Ran, Vlad you rock!). I think we interviewed ~35 engineers (yes I know, it’s crazy) and each interview I would repeat my pitch while explaining our dream. After a while I could tell during the pitch if I was passionate enough just by looking at the person’s reaction – when I wasn’t the engineer was much harder to convince.
In 1964, after falling in love with being onstage, Jim Morrison moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. He slept wherever he could – on Venice beach, under bridges, on stranger’s couches – while his new band was getting on their feet. Morrison is now called one of the most charismatic front men of all time, and one of the best lyricists and singers to come out of music history.
Every rock star has a tough time in the beginning; they perform in crappy places, sleep on anyone’s couches and eat half a meal a day. The beginner rock star (BTW @justinbieber is not a beginner rock star) performs where ever he/she can and starts building a community of fans with a budget of almost nothing.Every experienced investor/entrepreneur will tell you to maximize your potential before an investment. A good example to that is Any.Do, which built a successful app (they have a couple of hundred thousands downloads) – a truly inspiring bootstrap. For us it wasn’t that impressive but we did accomplish a lot. We got to a point were our computers crashed (two fans have since been replaces) and we had a working system with our algorithm up and running.
An opposite example is the new startup/treasury box 41$M pre launch startup Color! Unbelievable and surprise surprise two months after launching they changed their idea completely.
Rock stars are great performers! If you ever been to a concert you probably still remember the jumping and screaming the entire time. There’s that feeling when you see a star on stage and you are just happy or excited or I don’t really know how to describe it. With one eye on the artist and another on the crowd you just can’t believe it, how one performer can make thousands of people raise their hands, scream, jump and feel lucky they were able to watch them perform.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a VC will pay you to come and present ideas but the entrepreneur performance is crucial. There are times we just needed to bring our A game, an investor meeting, a customer pitch or anytime you know you have one shot of doing it. In this video of Liad Agmon (founder of Onigma and Delver) he talks about how one unexpected elevator pitch, where he knew he had to take a deep breath and bring his A game, was the beginning of Onigma’s purchase by McAfee .
Finding your voice
In those early years for an artist, it takes time to find the voice. What I mean is that it takes time to understand where you fit on the spectrum and who are your fans, (unless you’re on American Idol and Simon tells you America loves you). Those days are extremely important and if an artist is able to overcome this difficult time, success is almost guaranteed.
Lets take Yotpo for example. We are building an extremely complex system with a unique algorithm, but we are not building a new DiskOnKey and our success depends how quickly we will find out who needs us the most and how we can reach them. Maybe it sounds like an easy task but it takes time to understand what exactly is our product and who is willing to pay for it (unless you are in Ycombinator and then Paul tells you).
Think Elvis, think the Beatles, Clapton, Hendrix or even Justin Timberlake. It doesn’t matter what exactly your music is but if you succeed as an artist your chair in the house of glory is guaranteed. Glory as an artist is when people are singing your words on the way to work, listening to the crowd singing along with you at your show, or your song being the symbol of a revolution. I guess that when an artist reaches that magical place they know they will forever be in our minds.
Think Steve Jobs, think Larry & Sergey, Gates, Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. It doesn’t matter what exactly your product is but if you succeed as an entrepreneur your chair in the house of glory is guaranteed. Glory as an entrepreneur is when users are using your app on the way to work, or even when your product/service helped someone meet their wife. I guess that when an entrepreneur reaches that magical place he/she knows they will forever be in our minds.
For me glory is if Yotpo could change just a little the way users consume reviews and if because of our system a user would buy the best product for them specifically and not just another heavily promoted one.
You see just like Rock Stars, we want to make a change…
* Tomer Targin is the founder and CEO of Yotpo, an Israeli startup incorporating real time opinions to the shopping\blogging experience.