“In this fine wine business, it’s not going to take 5 years, not 10, it’s going to take a lifetime. You have to be willing to take a gamble, you have to put your whole heart and soul into what you are doing. But that’s all. It’s very simple.” – Robert Mondavi
When I first became an entrepreneur over a decade ago, I greatly under-appreciated the time required to succeed in this profession. That is, the profession of embarking on a bold vision of the future, assembling a team just as crazy as yourself, turning ambition into reality, turning what simply cannot be into the obviously makes sense.
I was impatient, and was used to succeeding quickly. From behind the lab bench mixing chemicals or behind the screen writing code, I could envision and create it, so why couldn’t it be that way, today?
Yet life is messy, inefficient, full of evolutionary twists and dead ends. You will stumble, fall, fail. Then you will get back up to do it over again. And through all this, forces beyond your control, luck, fate, whatever you believe it to be, will play out and influence your journey too. And while building for yourself is easy, building and serving other people takes patience, finesse, and a deep understanding of not just your technology, product, or service, but of people.
It was only after I began to accept these factors that things began to trend in the right direction for me, and that I began to appreciate the timescales required to create lasting change. You may hear about startup X or Y enjoying a rapid rise to success, but more likely than not, sustainable progress still awaits them, or their acquirers.
If you are an entrepreneur considering your next move, pick carefully. This is the fine wine business. You’re in this for the long haul. Every year, no matter what nature throws at you, you’re going to try, and try again. So pursue a mission that fires up your whole heart and soul.
In the end, it’s indeed all very simple. Simple, but not easy.