Being in an exciting startup company that fails can be great. First a couple of success stories, then what happens with massive failure.
A handful of people I know have become multimillionaires. People I have placed at their companies have gotten bonuses as high as half a million dollars. Two companies were started and sold in less than 10 years. One was for $200 million, the other for $400 million. Not bad money if you can get it.
One company sells ads on the internet. The other started out processing healthcare claims but quickly changed to selling prepaid credit card processing. The company founders and key employees made a lot of money because they found “the next big thing.”
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it) but ‘That’s funny’ (Isaac Asimov)
When FAILURE is successful
For each company that reaches this level a hundred startups fail. Still, half of the startups are absorbed into the successful companies that put them out of business. The best people in ALL of the failing companies find jobs in the best companies. People with experience in “the next big thing” are rare and not wasted by their industry.
The way to find what “the next big thing” is in your field is to ask. When you have one minute alone with managers, top technicians and salespeople, ask them. I guarantee that they have spent a few minutes trying to figure it out themselves. They also will want to show their expertise by sharing their vision of the future with you. In your job journal write down what you are told. You can review the lists you come up with occasionally and extract some gems.
Another way to find the next big thing is to subscribe to weekly and monthly trade journals. Most are free. Again, go to the managers, top technicians and salespeople. Ask them, “Which trade journals do you get in your email? Which do you read?” Have them forward a copy so you can subscribe. Get your own subscription.
Once you have a few choices for the next big thing, exploit your knowledge. If you are an adventurer, get involved in the beginning stages of “the next big thing.” If you are more security oriented, look for an opening where there is already solid revenue, but lots of growth potential left. The job you take could be at your present company. Find out if they are planning to fund a startup division or if they already have something going. The other alternative is to get a job in another company.
Chasing “the next big thing” is not an easy life. There are fantastic rewards and great challenges. There are also company bankruptcies, mergers, acquisitions and layoffs. But, I’ll say it again, the best people in those hot expanding fields are always absorbed into the competitors. It is scary, but not as dangerous as it sounds.
Now, go do some dreaming. It never hurts. In your field what is “the next big thing?”
Something To Do Today
Do a survey. Ask everyone you have a one minute conversation with what “the next big thing” will be.
Next: Psychobabble and usable psychology
Later: Facts would be nice
Wrestlers in feather boas