Why You Should Follow Your Passion Inspired by Hilary Weber
Hilary Weber said in class today “You have to believe in the values you’re trying to implement.” I cannot say how much she emphasized passion as part of the startup process. Whether it was talking about ego, emotions, drive, or just talking about how to follow a single big passion through a bunch of ideas, Hilary seemed to be warning us about something… This something was what I personally found out and is what this post is about as I, just like most other budding entrepreneurs, was too confident to take someone’s advice.
It started on the first day of my Intellectual Property Challenge Lab class. My interests are somewhat broad: Everything from the Internet of Things to Machine Learning to Computer Security. Pretty much everything that I set my eyes on tends to catch my interest because I’m fascinated with learning how things work. Intellectual property wasn’t one of them. While I said I was “interested” because it was relatively sparse in terms of amount of technology used and I thought it could be revolutionized by some simple data mining and algorithms, I was bothered by how complicated of a field it was. Furthermore, this led to our project idea being very unclear and untested since none of our team knew much about the IP landscape, mostly because we weren’t passionate about it. If we were passionate about IP, then we would have known much more about it since all those patent news articles that we fell asleep trying to read would have turned into something we wake up to reading. For this reason, we got shot down every time we made a presentation to someone in the field. We were unable to answer most of the questions our interviewers asked. We kept “pivoting” every time someone gave us advice because we didn’t know much better ourselves. In fact, we even changed industries from Intellectual Property to Finance because we were so unclear and unaware of the market.
Finally I started to realize what was happening. I tried to go over successful startups in my head and what they had that we didn’t. Elon Musk is ultra-concerned about the future of the planet. Steve Jobs really wanted to create a product that was 100% user friendly. In this way, I have to really want to learn more about the value of patents, the importance they have to inventions. I have to truly be bothered by all the litigations by patent trolls and all the startups that ran out of funding due to high infringement costs. And so we made it happen. We read up on several news articles, visited representatives from legal offices, met legal startup founders, met IP lawyers, suddenly, we found ourselves in a position where we knew what we were doing and were very clear about our goals. In the end, Hilary Weber was right: You do have to believe in the values you’re trying to implement. However, don’t worry. You don’t necessarily have to have passion to begin with, it’s something that can be developed!