Yvon Chouinard, one of the most unusual entrepreneurs you can find and the founder of category-defining sportswear and equipment company Patagonia is fond of saying:
If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, “This sucks. I’m going to do my own thing.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Throughout my career, in all the amazing entrepreneurs I had the honor to meet — the one prevailing quality the best of them demonstrate is an insatiable ability and desire to see things which are broken — and go fix ‘em.
Their three step process to building successful companies is simple:
- Find something that sucks.
- Figure out if it sucks for enough people who are willing to pay for it.
- Fix it.
Honestly — in the end it always boils down to this simple formula.
Ironically startups can fail at every step of this process: How many (tech) startups do you know who build a product which doesn’t really fix anything that sucks. Or fix something which sucks for so few people that it’s not a sustainable business. Or can’t execute well enough to actually fix it.
Giving your answers to these three steps is one of the most powerful pitches you can give by the way…
What is it you are fixing? For whom? To what end? And why does it matter?