On Starting Something

Before starting a new project, you have to ask why no one else has done it and why you are the perfect person to make it happen.

When you’re young, the answer might not be all that satisfying. You might not be the perfect person to build a unicorn startup. A lot of high scale startups require great developers, great designers and access to capital. Some people have access to these things and could launch a website in an hour that looks better than anything I could make in a month. If you do eventually want to launch a Silicon Valley style tech startup, you have to work on building these skills and connections first.

Or, you might decide that’s not your root. (Like I did) And then you look around and ask, “What could I build with what I have and who I know?”

For me, the answer has been programs here at UD, a tennis camp in my hometown, a daily blog for my friends and an email list to stay in touch with people.

Was I the best person to start a college program about innovation? No. But I was the best person at UD right now with enough time, energy and expertise to develop the idea and execute it. Hopefully, I can take that experience and create a similar program on a slightly bigger scale, but it had to start small.

Our calling often starts local, and that’s okay. See how people react and grow from there. It might be frustrating that your thing didn’t launch on the front page of ProductHunt or get featured in TechCrunch, but growth is slow.

Most opportunities aren’t the right ones. Your job is to find the few projects that no one else has done and execute on them like no one else could.

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