In 2007, I got an idea for a business. It was an idea about gathering a team of excellent gamers so they could be outsourced by other gamers who wanted to be listed on top but didn’t got skills or time to invest.
My revenue would come from 2 sources: the outsourcing fees and in-game items merchandising.
I drafted my very first business proposal with the profile of gamers and sales plan targeting audience living within my district. Then I came to some brotherhood clans aka “Tiệm Net” to call for cooperation.
Undoubtedly, they laughed at me and said “What kind of kids are you? Good business idea but school first, y’ know? Come to study. Look at you right now, you have:
- Zero sales ability. Have you ever tried to sell anything before?- “Just-fine” gaming ability. You don’t even master the product that you are going to sell- Zero money. You have no idea of how to attract and pay your employees - those gamers- Zero knowledge. Do the gamers really need your product?
That’s why we say no thanks! We will not buy this idea”.
The end. I gave up.
6 years later, streaming start-ups such as twitch and cctalk, talktv become norm with so many gamers showcase their gaming ability and call for being hired and invested from other gamers. Corporates are even founded to gather such talent gamers then to sell their gaming ability to other gamers who want to be on top.
I came up with this business idea 6 years ago!
Does this mean I should have been persistent at the first time?
Of course not.
In 2014, I got another business idea about using Virtual Reality to help travelers explore the tourism destination remotely. Here is the business idea that I proposed to Mckinsey Business Competition Program:
I was really into with this business idea, to the extent that I developed a master plan to deploy it to the market even before it was accepted to pass to the next round.
And it got rejected by McKinsey. Then several years later, this idea is widely adopted within tourism industry.
Does this mean I should have been persistent to develop this idea?
Of course not.
I was an NGO trainee, dreaming about a career in NGO; was an independent investor with portfolios in commodity and stock market, daydreaming about becoming a financial analyst in the future,… etc. After graduating, I realize that I have worn many career-to-be hats during my students time.
But I didn’t pursue any of them.
I received all the the “NO” reasons for what I thought it was supposed to be my career hat for the entire life. I could have tried harder. I could have resisted all the “NOs”. I could have persisted with those “hats”. But I gave up all.
To me, one of the BEST way to learn is expose yourself as much as possible with something that you are deeply passionate with. I mean you get crazy, carried away with it. You will learn, not waste time, and then move on to the next experience. In the end, you will see that all those experiences somehow connect!
That’s what Steve Jobs once said “Connecting the dots: You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”.
That’s also what people call “STUPIDITY” - you follow something that is considered as your DREAM; then you find out it is just a FAD.
However, STUPIDITY is the rungs on the ladder to a certain place that is set up for your core values.
If the gaming store owners said “Yes” to me, then I would probably be a struggling and unhappy leader of childish gamers. However, thanks to this EXPOSURE, I got experience about developing a raw business idea, what kind of resources I should pay attention.
If McKinsey said “Yes” to my business idea and even I won the competition and received 3000$ funding, I would be in a hardship in competing with million-dollar tourism start-ups/corporates as they also see the potential in incorporating such technology into their products. However, thanks to this EXPOSURE, I knew that I should do a market research, outline a SWOT analysis and research the competitors to convince investors that my product will got a place in that crowded market.
And then, when I need all those skills to set up a corporate, I figure out that they have already been there! I know all those concepts, I actually did them in the past. I got industry knowledge in NGO, financial service, banking, etc. Wow! I actually did them in the past, again!
But I just persist with those opportunities to an extent but not resist with them.
Resistance blocks you into thinking there is only one thing that will really make you “you”.
So many of my students I talk with are unhappy with their career even that’s what they want to be - because someone, at some point, created the blockage of what they were working on.
They get obsessed with those hindered comments. They can’t help themselves thinking about it. They can’t forget. They can’t forgive.
They get stuck because they think it’s the only rung to the ladder of defining who they are.
Rather than persistence in exposing themselves to many experiences, they choose to persist in one experience.
I had a coffee chat with an old friend who is pursuing to be acknowledged as a talented singer. And now he is quite reputed for singing in some bars, pubs and sometimes Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi at night - a truly night owl person. I asked him how he has been doing recently and what’s next?
“I’m doing good, living my dream, my friend. None plan come up yet, just living my dream, I need to be acknowledged”
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