Sometimes I get reminded why I’m doing this.
There’s so much going on right now. I’m exhausted a lot of the time. I have no idea how Jed keeps this relentless pace up. No wonder I’ve called him robot boy for so long.
Today I managed to squeeze in coffee with my good friend, Mark (@soctechnologist) after my first meeting for the day, and before I came home to hit more screen time. During our chat, we talked about something that happened in my TheFunded class last night. One of the mentors asked who planned on building the next billion dollar company. Many hands went in the air.
But I hesitated.
Why? As a startup founder, I run across lots of other startups whose focus is on the dollar. That’s what they’re interested in. That’s what lots of people create their lives around. For many people, being involved in a startup is kinda like taking an entry in the lottery – it’s that kind of gamble. For some it’s that gambling addiction that keeps them in there. It’s all about the payout. Money is the focus. Startups for them are like a drug.
But not me.
As I said to Mark today, heck, if money was my focus I’d still be living in Sydney, in my house with my secure job (that I loved), our two cars. My family. My friends. My dogs. I wouldn’t have packed it all up and moved here. I didn’t do it for a gamble. While I enjoy the odd flutter, I don’t buy lottery tickets.
I explained, looking around the enormous room we were in at all the people sitting with their coffee and lunch, that if we asked everyone in that room who had used a search engine on their computer the last time they were on it, I’ll bet every hand in the room would go into the air (and in fact, I bet all of them would have said Google was the search they had chosen). People are automatically going to look for stuff online. They do it automatically. That’s what the internet is for, right?
I then said if we asked all those same people who created content at any point in the last week, a minimal number of hands would go up. And I’m talking about any kind of content. Video, audio, text. A reply or comment on someone else’s creation, even.
Everyone looks for stuff, but a tiny percentage actually create it. And that’s bad.
The democratization of media – the real power of the internet – happens when people create content, not just when they search and read other peoples’ stuff. Democracy is not just about the infrastructure being there, it’s about people using it to interact and get involved.
I am jumping into this startup because my focus is on making creating content easier – for everyone. The internet won’t be fully democratized until everyone has a real voice, and the barriers to using it are minimized. Scribetribe.us will provide the whole world with that opportunity. From a small perspective, right here in America, I want to empower that homeless guy brandishing a cardboard sign outside the supermarket who has access to the internet at the local library for free, to have his presence felt. I want him to be able to more easily build his own blog, interact with others, get onto Twitter. Have a voice.
Imagine what an impact that would have.
And then take it across the world. That’s what I’m a part of. That’s the vision.
As I said to both my team last night and to Mark this morning, I’m probably best described as the chick flick of startup founders. I’d really like to be able to stop scrounging for quarters, but that’s not why I’m doing this. While others in startup land might be chasing the big money payout, my focus is elsewhere. And you know what? I’m more than happy with that.