6 Tips to Ensure Your Idea is BIG Enough

Don’t fall into the trap of the small idea. Here are 6 tips on how to avoid doing so.


1) Pick a painkiller

I touched on this a bit in a recent post. A painkiller is something someone very urgently needs. He would be willing to pay for it NOW if you could make the pain go away.

On the other hand, a vitamin is a nice-to-have.

Ask potential customers if your idea is a painkiller or a vitamin.

CHOOSE to go after painkillers. (no matter how sexy an idea the vitamin is, you’re bound to have better success with the painkiller)

Clipart Illustration of a Group Of Businessmen In Colorful Shirts, Carrying Briefcases And Holding Their Resumes Up At A Job Interview

2) Don’t stop with founder credentials

“Hey I like travel! I really could use an app which could tell me where all the best restos and resorts are when I visit a province. And I know you can do killer Android apps. Why don’t we make a Android-based, travel-app?”

For all the talk on lean startup, there are still a lot of entrepreneurs who KNOW about the lean startup model, but still, for some reason, refuse to incorporate even some of its more rudimentary principles. (namely, doing the necessary work to validate before building)

Don’t make your founder credentials the core of your startup (“I love traveling and know about it, he’s an Android apps man, we can make this work, baby!”).

Rather, let SOLVING THE PROBLEM be your core.

What is the problem? Why is it a problem? Who are the people who have this problem? What are the nuances? 

Startups are all about solutions. Solutions are all about problems. Dive deep into the problem set before deciding on anything.


3) Look to monopolies or things that just have never improved

Banking. Farming. Education(!). Medicine. Government.

Solve systemic problems in these areas and I guarantee startup success.

I think sometimes – a lot of times –  people take these problems for granted, thinking, “this will never be solved” or “It always be like this.”

So not a lot of people even try.

Big problems? Not a lot of people trying to solve it?

That’s opportunity.

For instance, in HR, compensation and benefits is often regarded as a “boring” category. When we were doing our customer research with STORM as we were starting, we saw why. Everyone had the same “core” benefits – leaves, life insurance, and health insurance. As in EVERYONE had the same thing. And because of a rule called “diminution of benefits” companies couldn’t really change things. People were stuck. Benefits weren’t being used as a competitive advantage for a lot of firms.

We saw this as an opportunity to solve a problem not a lot of people were looking at.

Look around. There are a lot of problems people are taking for granted. Choose one you are interested in and GO DEEP.

(note: this won’t be easy, and in the case of going after monopolies, they do fight back)


4) Accept that you have to get your hands dirty to identify big ideas

I think one of the reasons why some people just go ahead and ignore lean startup methodologies is that it’s just plain hard.

Customer validation, for example, is harder than it sounds. You have to zero in on a customer segment. Then you have to identify who they are exactly, get their contact details. You have to book interviews with a lot them. They can blow you off. They can completely ignore you. This takes a lot of time and a lot of effort.

From this standpoint,  it’s so much easier to fall into the trap of just going with your original idea and building it immediately.

Do the work. It’s worth it. 


5) Don’t be afraid to think BIGGER

Quick, what’s your startup idea?

IMMEDIATELY ask – how can it be bigger?

Sometimes we can let our original designs limit the potential of an idea.

How can our idea be BIGGER? How can this be sold to a larger market? How can this go global?

Don’t be afraid to dream.

Think of the Social Network. It took Sean Parker to show Zuckerberg his idea could be so much more than a college network.

On that note, don’t be afraid to LOOK for your Sean Parker as well. Ask around – how can this idea be bigger, better? Don’t rely on one person’s (yours) opinion.


6) Build for the Future

We live in a world of incredible change, where revolutions now happen on an annual basis.

All the devices you are holding now – your laptop, your tablet, your phone – will be obsolete in 2-3 years. By that time, you might be wearing an iWatch or a rocking Google Glasses.

How will your company hold up in this sort of climate in 2-3 years? Will it grow and evolve with how technology and society are growing and evolving? Will it be considered a dinosaur?

If you are building for the present market, your potential is already capped. Plus you are in danger of being disrupted.

Instead, build for the future. Learn to LOOK for trends, read them correctly (tricky), and build accordingly.

And I think you have to be two steps ahead already.

For example, if you’re building something based on “smartphone prices dropping” or “Filipinos buying increasingly online” then you might be a tad late – there are a number of firms already capitalizing on this. (Witness the number of local online stores sprouting the last few years – while some of them ALREADY are profitable now, that profitability will pale in comparison to what they will earn in a few years riding the trend.)

So look for NEWER trends you can capitalize on.

(Will this post especially resonate with someone you know? Please go and share!)

Dare To Pitch Postscript

group pic

Last Saturday, Juan Great Leap and Hybridigm held Dare To Pitch at the STORM headquarters in Ortigas Center. It was a pitching forum where we invited startups to pitch to VC’s.

No winners, no prizes.

We just wanted deserving entrepreneurs to have a venue where they could pitch to institutional investors. At best, they could get funded, at worst, they WILL get valuable experience, feedback, and contacts.

The event was actually a non-public post-event, where ready attendees of the pitching seminar Pitchcraft could volunteer to do an ACTUAL pitch. There were a few audience slots which we opened up to the JGL subscriber base (there are benefits of becoming a subscriber!),  which were gobbled up quickly.

We then invited veteran VC’s Dan Pagulayan, Managing Director of Angeon Advisors, and Nix Nolledo, renowned local tech investor, to hear the pitches and give feedback.

Strict 5 minutes per pitch.

Pitching startups include: NDFY, Doxcheck, Geek Speak, Rumarocket, Realty Check, Wegen, Matchdrobe, Hack Blitz, Gerry Cruz of Angage, and entrepreneur Alex Calero.

Alex Calero does a demo of his gaming concept

I thought there were generally awesome ideas behind each pitch – most pitches endeavored to solve real problems. VC Dan Pagulayan told me he’d want to further talk to 8 out of the 10 pitches presented, and that he’s really excited with the number of quality pitches presented.

Just some further observations on the event:

1) Value in witnessing pitches

As a very opinionated person, it was tough for me to JUST listen to the proceedings, but I gotta say, I learned a whole lot. Each pitch was basically an attempt to solve a specific problem in a specific area in our world: from OPM, recruitment, turbine engines, to geek couture, it was a thrill for me not only to learn about these different pockets from the pitchers, but also listening in on what the VC panel had to say. Horizon-stretching. 

2) We need to practice with the time limit

7 out of the 10 people who pitched had to be cut off at the 5 minute mark. This for me indicates some lack of practice time. Pitchers have to maximize their airtime. In particular, what usually was part of what is cut is the ACTUAL money pitch: how much the startup needs, where it will go, and what’s in it for the investor. (I think these have to be conveyed quickly at the start)

3) Underlining go-to market strategy

Only a couple of pitches actually explained EXACTLY how the money they were trying to raise would be used in penetrating the market. I’ve seen this in particular with very technical founders who dive into the product, and sometimes miss pointing out how the startup would begin making money, and it intends to scale. For any investor, this is probably THE most crucial part – how exactly is this person going to make my money back?

4) Younger people are getting in on it

Current Ateneo student Red Bermejo pitching
Current Ateneo student Red Bermejo pitching

I’ve seen this trend in our JGL open coffee sessions (do sign up now!), where more and more students pitch and participate. 3 of the 10 pitches were given by current students. I think this is an awesome, awesome development, and I hope it continues to trend up.

Glen Macadaeg of NDFY
Glen Macadaeg of NDFY
Lara Santico of Realty Check
Lara Santico of Realty Check

Is There a Superman Your Clark Kent Can Become?

clark kent

In this early 2005 interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder described Facebook as:

“I mean, I just really want to see everyone focus on college and make a really cool college directory product…there doesn’t necessarily have to be more…”

Zuck was intent on just focusing in colleges. He was ecstatic with his 3 million users.

Then, somewhere along the way, he realized he was sitting on a goldmine. Now? He’s just passed his first BILLION users.

Sometimes, all we need is a fresh look at our business to experience an epiphany. 

Pao and I experienced the same thing in STORM around 2 years ago. (at a lesser extent than Zuck, obviously) We were making most of our money off of the monthly retainer we were charging our clients for using our flexible benefits system. It was evergreen. It was paying the bills. We were okay.

Then we that saw our online Flexible Benefits system was enabling a particularly large amount of transactions per annum.


It was time to change our business model. We wanted to do it fast, so we went for broke and raised investor money (for the first time) to allow us to go after our strategy. Hard.

What is the big-league alter ego of you current startup? Is there a Superman your Clark Kent can become? 

The greatest enemy of a business owner is complacency. Even at the peak of your company’s powers, you should always ask yourself – how can I do things better? These new tools coming out – how can I use them to power my business? How can this idea be BIGGER?

You need to think about it carefully and plan.

Thinking of doing a bakeshop? Perhaps you can be the first social-media powered bakeshop – where you can tweet people that they HAVE to come over – because a fresh batch of pandesal is about to be taken out of the oven. (can someone please do this – freshly baked pandesal is just heaven)

Are you a database programmer who wants to put up a business? Instead of doing database consulting, perhaps you should look at big data opportunities in different industries and try to look for a real-world problem where data can be a solution. (there a lot – recruitment, cellular data, enrollment data, government, etc…)

Think bigGER!

Employing The Mach 3 Strategy

Yep, this baby's 15 years old
Yep, this baby’s 15 years old

I was shaving my head this morning in the shower with my trusty Mach 3. I thought the blades needed changing. I made a mental note to myself to buy a fresh pack of blades – the woefully overpriced ones at the grocery counter.

I had been buying these blades for FIFTEEN years already – I had been paying Gillette a small fortune.

Funny, because I had never wanted these high-end blades in the first place – I won this Mach 3 way back in the 1998 Christmas party in my first corporate job.

Once I got the Mach 3, somehow I just made a habit of buying the blades.

I represent recurring revenue for Gillette. They must love me.

If your startup idea can operate with a recurring, “evergreen” business model, SERIOUSLY look into trying to adopt it.

I remember lucking into this business model when we started STORM in 2005. We wanted to sell a flexible benefits system to the market. We were looking at possible business models out there. A popular one was simply selling the software. We ask the client for a huge sum of money, in return, we would develop a customized solution for them and support it for 2-3 years. We loved the idea because it gave us immediate, usable cash.

Of course, no company would be insane enough to give a startup a huge sum of money – its just too much risk. So instead, we opted for a monthly “software as service” fee. With a lower barrier, we were soon able to land our first few clients.

Then, aside from the technology monthly lease,we built even more benefits services around it – also paid per month. If your company wanted, we could use our system to service your employees directly – less hassle for you.

It became a platform.

This “evergreen” strategy has a whole lot of advantages, namely:

1) Less dependence on day-to-day sales

Do you know how nerve-wracking it is for a startup founder to sell products day after day so he could pay the bills?

In this scenario, you just need to sell to a consumer ONCE. Then, it boils down to delivery. If you take care of your business, you can expect this consumer to consume repeatedly. The caveat? Your delivery team or your product has to be kickass.

2) “Forecastability”

(Is there really such a word?)

When we landed clients in STORM, we would know EXACTLY what the monthly revenue would be. 60K a month for this client. 84K for this client. Month after month after month.

This revenue pattern made planning so much easier for us as we grew. Can we afford to hire another employee? Will we have enough to pay 13th month?  We would know definitive answers to these questions. This makes a whale of a difference versus businesses which essentially, makes guesses future sales figures.

The whole challenge of startups lies in the uncertainty of it all. Any item which adds even a smudgeon of forecastability goes a long way.

3) You are forced to be always on your heels

Our clients would pay us every month – with the usual contract provisions that if they are not satisfied with the service, we would get docked on the monthly. Guess what effect this had on our operations?

We were forced to look at the way we did things and ALWAYS improve on them. We would put supreme importance on customer servicing. We would make sure bugs would get stamped out ASAP.

Or else we wouldn’t get paid next month.

That’s tremendous motivation to always deliver what the client expects and more.

4) Smaller bites > One big bite

As I mentioned earlier, its MUCH EASIER to ask a client to pay several bite-sized payments than one big, one-time purchase. This is especially true if you’re a startup. So don’t be afraid to lower your pricing significantly – you’re after the the longterm payoff.

Another advantage with smaller bites? You create a habit. This is extremely strategic.

Does your current business model employ elements of the Mach 3 strategy? If it doesn’t, these advantages are more than enough reason to seriously consider an overhaul.

Are you setting up a consulting firm? Perhaps you could come up with a related monthly service you can offer to outsource on a monthly basis.

Putting up a local bakeshop? Perhaps you can arrange to deliver your freshly baked pan de sal every morning to nearby homes at a significantly cheaper rate.

Tech firm? Perhaps you could build a platform  on which you can deliver repeat products/services on.

Design studio? Perhaps you can find clients in industries who need to have things designed on a consistent basis (not the usual one-time website creation for say, startups). Lower your prices and go for long term contracts with monthly or weekly deliverables/payments. Just off the top of my head, you can try publishing (online or print), HR (monthly newsletters to employees), and maybe events.

Who knows, with the right model, you can develop a customer like me – a lifetime consumer. (well, fifteen years and counting)

smooth sheen like could only be accomplished by a Mach 3!
smooth sheen like this could only be accomplished by a Mach 3!

Forget the search for the next great idea. Look for your inner fire, instead.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to an “idea guy” with 6 startup ideas he wanted to pursue. I listened and gave my opinion on each. Then he looked at me and asked:

So what do you think?

Puzzled, I replied:

About what?

Coyly, he then asked:

What should I choose?

No mentor, confidante, or adviser can answer this sort of question.

Only you can.

It’s easy to get carried away with money potential, or how “sexy” an idea is. Careful. Choosing a startup solely based on these will almost guarantee failure.

The process starts internally. Follow your heart.

We have heard this from thousands of successful entrepreneurs: your passion will fuel your startup. 

So what ignites you?

Startup Funding: The FIRST option should always be doing it on your own

I’ve been blessed to have talked to a growing number of young entrepreneurs over the past few months. One common concern for the would-be-startup-owner is funding. How do you get the funding to start?

The two general answers are bootstrapping and raising investment money.

There are other interesting fund-raising strategies arising, like crowdsourcing, but that’s a topic for another post

Before I give my bootstrap-biased opinion on this, let me give the easy answer first, which is: it depends on the idea. 


Generally, you can look at the following things when determining which path to take:

1. Do you need a huge capital investment to break even?

2. How big is the market and how fast will it develop?

3. How strong are the barriers to entry?

Capital Requirements

This is a bit obvious. If your idea plans to generate a huge sum of money, but needs, say, P20 million in initial capital to start, then you probably need funding. If you are making a significant play on retail and do not have generous family members or friends, then you probably would need funding. This is why technology firms are so  attractive – a mere ten years ago would need millions to set up an internet firm. Nowadays, the costs are becoming almost negligible. If you do not need a large sum to start, bootstrap.

Market Size and Growth

If you are planning to immediately take on a huge market, or a market which will grow really, really fast, then you probably need to acquire funding. Capturing a sizeable market requires investment (usually for marketing and sales). Witness Serenitea. They were the first milk tea place of its kind in the country (as far as I know). When competitors started appearing left and right, they suddenly had to put up a lot of sites (and invest in new technology, like those circular buzzers) to defend their position. Putting up those sites required funding.

Barriers to Entry

If your idea has low capital requirements to get started AND has the potential to be a big business, then it will boil down to barriers to entry. If your idea is NOT defensible (an individual with deep pockets can set up a competitor really fast), then it is advisable to acquire funding to capture market share immediately and seize the opportunity. If there is little chance for a competitor to beat you to scale because you are doing something really unique, or IP, then it might be best to bootstrap.

The guidelines above can be considered as general guidelines for figuring out how to finance your startup. Here’s my opinion though:

MY OPINION: As much as you can, always bootstrap. 

Short story.

Early this year we had an idea which, according to the guidelines above, was much better suited for funding than bootstrapping. So my team went around fundraising for P4-5 million. Established venture capital firms found the idea a bit too small to fund.

note: venture capital firms raise millions of dollars of funding for startups – but they can’t spread themselves too thin by spreading it out to too many small opportunities, they’d rather select few, bigger opportunities which have the potential multiplying their investment 10x, or even more, in 4-5 years

We then tried to go after Angels and other investment houses. Basically, we were trying to sell 20% of the firm for around P4 million of funding, at a P20 million company valuation. This was a typical way startups in the US did it, according to my extensive review of the literature.

Here’s the typical response:

“Idea sounds great, but if we are taking on the entire risk, then we would require 60%-80% of your firm.”

After getting the same quote from a good number of investors, we figured it was just a bit different here than what US literature suggests.

A team of bootstrappers, there was NO WAY we would have been amenable to those terms. So we regrouped, re-calculated our figures, tightened our belts, and basically, innovated. This new firm will now be launched within a month.

Here’s three reasons why you should try bootstrapping first before resorting to funding:

a) You are forced to be more creative

Spending your own, hard-earned cash will force you to have an augmented sense of fiscal responsibility, create a deep sense of urgency, and will make you exhaust all possibilities for solutions. Sounds like the ingredients necessary for a successful startup.

Spending other people’s money is very much akin to how most of us manage our credit cards – poorly.

b) You will have more power on the negotiating table

Once you generate traction (your business starts making money), then it is but logical that you will find yourself with more leverage on the negotiating table, in the event you want to seek investor money to finance further growth. If you have shown NO PROOF that your idea can work and you need money, then that 80% equity request will seem to be logical from the point of view of the one shelling all the cash out. Oh, and investors won’t treat surveys nor “research findings” as traction. You have to show money to show you are making money.

c) We often over-estimate market size, market growth, and competition

A number of the pitches I’ve seen reflect eye-popping numbers when it comes to market size and growth. Bluntly speaking, these are just guesses – and more often than not, the numbers will prove to be more earth-bound. More earth-bound numbers lessen the actual need for funding (in accordance to the general guidelines above).

Competition is also typically exaggerated. (Once people get a hold of this idea, it will spread like wildfire! So we have to act now!) After years of listening to ideas, I’ve yet to see an idea “spread like wildfire.” After all, it’s really in the execution.

Instead of market guesses, the best thing to do is to build an actual low-cost MVP, try to sell it, and gain traction.

In other words, bootstrap.

d) Why hire a captain of your own ship?

One HUGE reason I went the entrepreneur route was freedom. I wanted to be my own boss. If someone else buys 60% of your firm, then guess what?

You aren’t the captain anymore.

e) Raising funds is distracting

The first order of business when you have a startup is taking care of the product. You have to learn more about it, talk to potential and current customers, iterate, strategize, create. In raising funds, it’s easy to get distracted about the allure of raising millions for your startup. Then there’s all the “due-diligence” you need to work on, meetings to attend, figuring out the numbers. This can become a real attention grabber, keeping you from focusing on what is truly important.

Curiosity Skins The Cat

3 months ago I was talking to whole lot of doctors.

I was talking to our pediatrician for the needs of my older kids, our gynecologist for my wife’s pregnancy, my surgeon for my impending operation, more doctors to get the clearances needed for me to push through with the operation, and even visited a few confined loved ones and friends.

I was in and out of hospitals and hospital clinics. A good chunk of this time I spend waiting. 

What did I do to pass the time?

I couldn’t help but be an entrepreneur.

First, I noticed that for all the clinics of the new doctors I saw, the secretary asked me to manually fill up a patient’s form. Curious, I asked the secretaries if I would need to fill up another form if I went to the doctor’s other clinics in other hospitals. All of them said yes, I’d need to fill up another one.

Meanwhile, for my existing doctors, they’d pull out my file from a huge cabinet.


Instead of sitting down to wait, I decided to get up and peer in other clinics to see if they used desktops for filing records. Very very few of them had desktops. One secretary I saw was manually encoding the recently-filled form of a patient into the desktop.

Interestingly though, I saw a number of tablets used by doctors walking in the lobby. Thinking back, I remembered that a number of doctors who visited during hospital confinement used iPads to document their visits.


The startup thesis forming in my head was: would doctors use tablet-based, mobile-powered clinic application to manage their clinics better?

So I asked my wife (who’s a doctor) for her opinion. I asked my own doctors (I thoroughly quizzed the poor cardiologist who cleared my operation) if they’d buy an app like that. I asked more doctors.

After getting some validation, I told 2 entrepreneurial friends whom I knew would be interested in this sort of idea to brainstorm with me. Excitedly, we eventually developed the idea even further after a couple of meetings over noodles and cake. We’re now set on testing our assumptions more rigorously through a minimum viable product.

Startup ideas are formed by thinking of problems to solve. More specifically, how to skin the cat BETTER than the status quo.

The best way to find opportunities? Observe. Never be shy in talking people. Never assume. Reach out and ask (you’d be surprised – most people LOVED to be asked). This is great way you can uncover some long-standing problems.

Be curious. And then, decide to be even more curious.

To ensure success, go DEEPER not wider

Okay, so you are a startup owner.

Chances are great that you have limited resources. Understanding that you cannot be everything to everyone, you identify a niche and concentrate on that.

I am now getting more and more convinced that the niches we think are specific enough are STILL oftentimes too broad. We have to go deeper.

When STORM was originally conceptualized, we wanted to be a technology firm which specialized in HR. Soon enough we found out that was too broad. So we thought of specializing on benefits. You know what? Still too broad. This year, our big decision is just to concentrate on ONE thing: Flexible Benefits. See all those other products in our website? We shall soon be pulling all them out. We realized we needed to focus ALL our resources on ONE problem: getting Flexible Benefits right. We want to solve this problem with all we’ve got. We want to solve this problem better than anyone else in the world.

This boils down to the decision if you want to do one GREAT thing or merely good things. Spreading your limited resources across many things increases the probability of making a lot of mediocre products. Just remember that mediocre doesn’t have a shelf life, being great does. Look at Apple. ONE phone at a time. ONE tablet at a time. They just make that ONE thing the best there is.

Got an idea? Know who your target market is? Here’s a suggestion: segregate this market further and choose to niche even more. (Of course, you have to walk the tightrope here a bit and ensure you have a big enough market)

Creating a tablet application for children? Pick a specific age group, say 5-6 years old. Then do heavy research on the developmental aspects and mental acuity levels of children 5-6 years old. Then release a product specifically for children 5-6 years old. If you are a parent, and you have a 6-year-old, wouldn’t you want to buy a product specifically created for your child instead of getting a “for 8 years and below?”

Designing a clothing line for mommies? It might not be specific enough. Then research on the style differences between women who are 20-25 and everyone else. Focus your marketing and sales activities just on this demographic. Ignore the rest. You know what, not only will you capture the 20-25 market, but also the women in their 30’s who want to look younger.

And for all those people creating software houses? For goodness sake, pick a niche. Learn that niche. Yes, you will get offers to develop other stuff outside your chosen niche. Resist the money and decline. You can make that money up once you begin dominating a more specific niche. And no, “mobile” isn’t a good enough niche. Go deeper – pick an industry, a vertical, or an even more specific platform. Think about your specific customer and then sell specifically.

Go deeper.

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Generate Startup Ideas Using Tourist’s Eyes

When we are travelling for the first time in a foreign location, time seems to slow down, and we get to absorb all the juicy details.

There is no little thing which escapes us:

how the air is different

what clothes people are wearing

how the food tastes

how people greet one another

how clean (or dirty) things are

what people listen to

how people drive

how people eat

how the architecture is different

Isn’t it interesting that we are suddenly ultra-aware of the things around us. We find our heads and eyes ever-circling and observing, trying to take all the detail in. We look at the world with wonder. We figuratively (and depending where, sometimes literally) stop and smell the roses.

Contrast that to being in a place which is very familiar to us. In very familiar places, we can walk with our heads down and get to our destination. We can even drive very familiar routes almost unconsciously. We take things for granted and miss details. There is no wonder.

We miss opportunities. Sometimes right under our noses.

ALWAYS observe like a tourist. Look at the world with wonder, even when in the familiar.

You’ll be surprised at how many new ideas you can come up with.

Are you picking a passion, or a mere interest?

I’ve been talking to an increased number of people now with regards to their startup ideas.

Will this work? What about this? Could you rank these five ideas?

You know what? It really depends on you. Are you passionate about one of these ideas? If you are, then even if any expert or investor tells you your idea sucks, you’ve got a good chance of proving them wrong. Isn’t this the story of so  many successful startups?

Passion fuels great execution. And execution is everything.

What is interesting is that one person’s multiple ideas can encompass a wide variety of areas. While it is quite probable that you are interested in all these ideas, it is quite improbable that you are passionate about all of them.

If you plan to be the driving force in a startup you are setting up, then you just have to pick a passion. Don’t give in to the temptation to pick an interest, no matter how convenient things are shaping up.


Interest does not scale. Mere interest will not propel you to persevere and sacrifice when the going gets really tough. Mere interest won’t make you finish whole books about the topic in 2-3 days. Passion will make you do so. Passion scales.

You don’t ever want to go on vacation from what you are passionate about.

I am interested in pizza, TV, video games, and coffee. I won’t read books about them though. I don’t scour for news about them, although I will read an article about them if I come across one. I won’t run a startup centered on them. Invest in startups centered on them? Sure. But be the driving force? I already know that won’t be a good idea.

I am passionate about startups, human resources, and basketball. I read books about these topics for leisure. I am subscribed to news feeds about them. I have been the driving force for a successful human resources-related startup until very recently, and now I’m busy setting up a startup incubator. If someone comes to me with a great startup idea about basketball, I can see allowing myself to lead that.

Passion is evident. When you ask a person about what she is passionate about, it will be difficult to make them stop. Eyes light up. Peripheral questions are easy to answer. I’ve seen shy introverts transform before my very eyes when their passion becomes the topic of conversation.

You would pursue a passion for free. 

So whether you are deliberating on seriously pursuing an idea, recruiting someone, or even looking for a new job, pick a passion.

Stop settling.

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