Why reality needs to suck..

Not enough people are trying to change the world.

Reality sucks. Trust me.

You see, reality needs to suck.. for entrepreneurs to have fun fixing things.

People are always trying to pin down and define entrepreneurship. What does in mean to be an entrepreneur? How do we make more of them? Is it a passion for a new business. Working in a garage, living on a credit card? Is it writing 10 business plans a year? Is it luck? Maybe. How about this.. the ideal founder.. yeah, that’s a part of it.

I’m an entrepreneur. What do I think defines an entrepreneur?

I like the idea that entrepreneurship is a disease. I like the idea that you have to be just crazy enough to be a good entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs imagine new realities. That is what real entrepreneurs do. It’s their drug.

They walk around finding things which suck.. until they find something exciting enough to start asking “how might we fix this?”. Then they dream up a solution, sometimes a whole new ecosystem to support a new world they want to live in… and then they start convincing people that their new reality is stable enough to build.

A friend I played underwater hockey with used to say.. “sex is like driving a car: the guy in is charge of the accelerator and the girl is in charge of the breaks”. Things are often much simpler if you know your place.

Good entrepreneurs push the boundaries of the stability of their new realities. They are a bit nuts. This is good. They want to drive faster. Don’t expect them to make spreadsheets about their new worlds, that’s somebody else’s job.

Entrepreneurs are impatient idealist. The idealism part is key.. that’s how they latch on to an idea, commit to it and follow every opportunity which aligns with their new world. Entrepreneurs are able to convince people of the truth.

I was having lunch with Mia’s mom on Friday. I made some comments about religion. She said.. “but Joe, you have your own religion”. I said.. “sure, but it’s my religion, which makes it way cooler”.

When we were starting Frogfoot around the end of 1999… we were not really starting an ISP business. I wanted to live in a world with always-on internet at home and I wanted to play with Linux and cool networking toys. Cisco was expensive and MS solutions were lame, we needed to invent a new world.

When I dreamed up Teraco it was because I was pissed off with how telcos lock customers in with data centers.

When we started talking about TrustFabric in the middle of last year, we were not really starting a software development business. I wanted to live in a world with efficient relationships between businesses and customers. Our current reality of customer service sucks. I hate having to phone a call centre to update something simple. I want more power.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” — George Bernard Shaw

It’s fine when everybody thinks you’re bit nuts. You are actually just following the recipe and stepping on the right pedal.

Getting there is all the fun.

ps. If you agree with me about the current reality of customer service, go Like this page.

4 thoughts on “Why reality needs to suck..

  1. I often find that I see a problem and I know exactly how it might be fixed, the technology exists, etc etc. But its expensive… lately I’ve been looking at a lot of problems in the tracking domain, and how it might be tracked using RFID technology. Problem is, for the really cool stuff you need active RFID, and that is still too expensive… Eg, getting in a long queue at the supermarket sucks. Wouldn’t it be nice to just push the trolley through a scanner? It can be done, the technology exists. But it needs active RFID with batteries on the tag, and the cheap ones are over R100 a piece…

    I find that a little frustrating, because it means you have to wait for either new technology or for prices to come down.

    1. Hmm.. I wonder about privacy. UK supermarkets already know more about citizens than their government. It’s the “If I knew how much fat you ate would I give you health insurance?” question.

  2. On the insurance note. I’ve often wondered what would happen if a car insurance company offered a package that came with a logging GPS tracker and accelerometer and then basically said “You can pay a lower premium if we can track your position, speed and acceleration… and if we can prove you were breaking the law when you had your accident we simply won’t pay out.”

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