Great Businesses Are Not Born From Great Ideas

Romain Vakilitabar, CEO at Pathos VR

Ideas are scary. They’re exciting… but scary. That might be why most people never make the step from having an idea to turning it into something tangible. The other scary thing about ideas, is that everyone has them. You could think of the next big thing, and the truth is, it’s been thought of before. It’s more than likely that someone has even made a pretty good run at building it out. Ideas are easy, but knowing when an idea is good one, and knowing how to make it real, is a much harder process.

Romain Vakilitabar, Founder and Lead Artist at Pathos VR, has been acting on his ideas since he was in elementary school. His social skills are on par with his technical skills, both of which exist in the realm of absolute brilliance. He was willing to sit down with Eyesight to share his business creation process.

The first lesson Romain shares is easily one of the most important gems of information first time founders need to hear. He quotes:

“If you feel like you have a lightbulb moment, take that lightbulb, throw it to the ground and hear it shatter, because an idea is useless.”

It is not ideas that lead to great businesses, but rather the identification of significant problems that need a solution. For example, Romain noticed that we live in a divided and echo-chambered world and he took this problem upon himself to solve. His solution is to use virtual reality to tell stories of people around the world in order to provoke compassion and understanding amongst individuals who have never had the chance to interact.

He recognized a problem, tested, tested and tested some more, found a solution, and from that, created Pathos VR.

His approach to starting a business — from problem identification to implementation — follows the exact same structure as an experiment you might have conducted in third grade science class; identify a problem, create a hypothesis based on your own personal experience, do some research, and create an experiment to test whether or not the hypothesis is valid. If your idea can survive this process, then you’re onto something.

When seeking direction for your business, Romain recommends taking one day to jot down notes every time you feel a frustration. It could be in the morning when you’re making coffee, during lunch when you’re sitting in traffic, or at night when you realize you’ve missed your favorite show. By the end of the day, you will have a list of potential problems that may be worth looking into.

Many of us, at some point, thought we may have come up with the next million dollar idea, but this is really only an illusion. No matter how real the excitement feels, it is only a temporary reaction. Taking action to solve a problem is what successful companies are born from. Next time you are brainstorming about ideas, reflect on this last quote from Romain, and challenge yourself to make the impact you were always meant to make.

“Please don’t look at what is. Think about what could be. Because the people who focus on what is, don’t realize that the world of tomorrow will be a radically different place.”