Think For Yourself, And The World Will Follow (Eventually)

With all of the startups as of late, it seems like everyone is making a “clone” of something already in existence. Like a “MySpace clone” or a “Digg clone”. Why? Because these sites have proven that they have the formula for attracting visitors and making some serious coin.

Unfortunately for these entrepreneurs, they’re not going to see much success. Why? Because they’re not thinking.

Thinking requires creativity, and unless you’re creative, you don’t have anything new, exciting or fresh to offer the oh-so fickle early adopter crowd.

95% of the really successful sites on the internet right now were very exciting and fresh when they first started, before there were 20 clones of themselves. They were new solutions to a problem, or just completely groundbreaking.

Steve Pavlina has a killer list of business lessons for entrepreneurs. My personal favorite is #4.

Think for yourself. Unplug yourself from follow-the-follower groupthink, and virtually ignore what everyone else in your industry is saying (except the ones everyone agrees is crazy). Do your own research, draw your own conclusions, set your own course, and stick to your guns. When you’re just starting out, people will tell you you’re wrong. After you’ve blown past them, they’ll tell you you’re crazy. A few years after that, they’ll ask you to mentor them.

Drawing your own conclusions is the only way to create something really revolutionary. Much like the example for shooting great photography, sometimes you just have to throw out conventional wisdom. Greatness doesn’t start by following people: it starts by creating your own path.

Leave a Comment

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • glen January 22, 2007, 11:53 am

    Well put Brian. There is definitely added motivation to implementing your own idea.

  • Brian May January 22, 2007, 11:14 am

    Great post. The clone concept has grown out of control. I must admit that I have fell victim to this thinking in the past and to no avail. It is not just the ficle crowd, but as you said, cloning is a way for you to not think for yourself.

    It is much more fun and easy to accomplish something if it is your idea than trying to do something just as everyone does.

  • glen January 18, 2007, 8:53 pm

    “Like some say – idea doesn’t have to be a big one, it just has to change the world :)”

    You nailed it.

  • Juan Rodriguez Villa January 18, 2007, 6:04 pm

    Wonderful post. I am sure each one of us can think of at least one great person in the world history that did exactly what you say in your post, and the end of the story is that this person became worldwide known for whatever reason. I was just thinking about Jesuchrist. He was crusifed for his revolutionary ideas of love and sharing, but he became famous as the father of Christianity.

  • Andrea >> Become a Consultant Blog January 18, 2007, 4:26 pm

    Thinking for yourself is the key. It’s okay if you pick up an idea that didn’t originally come to you. But turning that initial idea into something else can lead to success. McDonald’s didn’t invent hamburgers. Coke didn’t invent soda pop. Google didn’t invent advertising or search. But they all took an idea and applied a new system or market to it.

  • ANP January 18, 2007, 2:45 pm

    This could be a mantra for living in general, IMHO, not simply entrepreneurialism. I’m going to clone it off you if you don’t mind ;)

  • Ignat Drozdov January 18, 2007, 2:32 pm

    Like some say – idea doesn’t have to be a big one, it just has to change the world :)

  • Steve Claridge January 18, 2007, 2:21 pm

    There are far fewer people who are prepared to push the boundaries and innovate than there are people who want to take the easy option.

    Cloning a website an trying to get visitors off the back of someone else’s ideas is of course lazy and in most cases unlikely to succeed. If however, you can take the best elements of an idea that works, say Digg for example, add new features and end up with something better than the original, you could be on to a winner.

  • glen January 16, 2007, 2:46 pm

    Yeah, good point. It probably *shouldn’t* feel comfortable if you’ve got something truly revolutionary.

  • danieltoh January 16, 2007, 1:52 pm

    I agree that groupthink can be disasterous for a startup entrepreneur, because you want to differentiate yourself from the pack to stand out, not blending in to the surroundings and feel comfortable. Although sometimes its hard to do that because of the resistance that others give you due to your wanting to think for yourself.

    But it seems like its the only way up at the moment in a whole where there is too much competition. Thanks!