I’ll bring up today a legend from the lore of the tech industry — if not, the most famous one. Steve Jobs being kicked out of Apple.
We probably all know the story, at least on a surface level, but I just need to draw attention to something that might help you even in the day to day life.
So he gets kicked out of Apple. Kicks the can for a little while and since he can’t sit for too long without building something, he starts (amongst Pixar) NeXT Computer.
There have been long debates whether he built NeXT to be simply bought by Apple, or whether it was the same juice that made him start Apple which allowed him to build NeXT.
The debate will never end. However, one thing is clear:
Building something as if you will connect with some future point works.
That is true whether you want to sell a company or whether you want to reinvent an industry.
Selling a company
If you want to sell a company, you can interpret it this way: you’re building something A, B and C big corporations will need in 3–4 years from now.
Something they could delegate to someone within the company to do, but their need is simply not there at the moment. It will be in 3–4 years.
So you start doing it today and say “I’ll meet you there”. When 3 to 4 years have passed, you will have something built up — buying you would mean they save time, effort and they have an edge over their competitors.
The best part? The might be an auction between these A, B and C companies.
It’s what I’m doing with Legit Check, one of the projects where I spend a big chunk of time.
It’s not always the case that these companies need this package of value in 3–4 years. Sometimes they don’t have quick access to the resources you might have — and I’m not talking about money here.
Sometimes you see a solution that they don’t see since they’re so big, but what I’ve written is just another approach at entrepreneurship generally speaking.
Changing an industry
Even if it was Jobs’ plan to be acquired by Apple, he couldn’t have known for sure. So what he did was: he started building as if he’ll meet the industry there in a few years.
And so he did — despite being categorised in the media as a failure, NeXT did have public demand and help from big names like Intel or Novell.
He acted as if he’ll meet whatever the status quo might be in 3–4 years from when he started it. It happened that the needs of the industry also met the needs of Apple.
Again, we’re not debating here whether it was premeditated. But the industry needed apps that are built in 6 months, not 2 years. And the echoes of next are felt even today, in 2019.
The most evident echo is the following: if you go into Xcode, the app built by Apple to build apps (for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch etc), there are certain categories of items that start with NS. NSWindowController is one of them.
That NS stands for NeXTStep, the operating system behind the eponymous machine.
Build it as if you’ll meet the industry in a few years. Or as if you’d work for a big corporation and they’d commission you with this huge problem that you need to solve.
You don’t have to do it for the sake of selling the company. You can, but you don’t have to.
If you imagine Intel is hiring you to solve this huge pain in the butt they have, chances are it could be something AMD would need as well. And maybe other companies.