What Does It Take To Make It? Magic.
People always ask me what it takes to make a company worth investing in. I tell them “Team, Product, Strategy, and Customers”. All four, no more and no less.
It’s a bit of a formula, perhaps, but it’s a formula that only really succeeds if there is some magic sprinkled on top.
Great products are part technology and part magic. Great teams are part capability and part magical. Great strategy? The first two elements and a strategy is what it takes to develop a great customer base.
Remember Star Wars? We liked the X Wing and Tie Fighters; we liked the robots and were impressed with the world of the Death Star; but what we fell in love with was the Force. We loved the magic and the humanity of Yoda, the merger and the mixture between the philosophy and the technology. This is what swallowed us whole.
Remember the iPhone? No, really… think back to 7 years ago. It wasn’t just the fact it played MP3s well, without stuttering. Or that it was the first phone to *really* show web pages. It was because the whole experience was magical, the animations, the 3D renderings, the zooming of the icons into applications at the tap of a finger. There was a world inside that phone, what changed everything was the fact that for the first time we held in our hands a portal to imagination. And developers quickly filled that portal with multiple new worlds, from games to maps to new ways to explore information.
How can we, as technologists and as entrepreneurs, imagine and create magic? This is what we must crack, this is the uncharted territory we must explore and develop.
At SOSV, when we look to back a company, we look to back the sorcerer and their team. Wizards are what we look for, capable of conjuring up a new vision of a new and brave world. We love big dreams, and the steady path of labor and love that it takes to get there.
What is difficult for any customer or any venture capitalist to know is the difference between dreamers and wizards. Even the entrepreneurs themselves are simply endeavoring to create magic. It doesn’t always happen, even with good or great entrepreneurs and their teams. Traction is some proof that there is magic in them bones, mostly because traction usually indicates that a product is shareable enough to gain the interest of human beings long enough so they share it with their friends.
We believe there is a process to creating magic products and magical teams. And that’s why we are such big believers of accelerators at SOSV. It’s our primary means of discovering truly amazing talent and helping to develop amazing and magical products and teams.
Welcome to 2014. Happy New Year. At SOSV, we are hoping to help develop and support over 50 new companies in 2014, from 20 new companies in the Hardware space through Haxlr8r; up to 10 new companies in the Leap Axlr8r (motion interaction), up to 10 new companies in the SynBio Axlr8r (synthetic biology), up to 20 new companies in the software/internet/China area (through Chinaccelerator) and additional companies in the Selr8r and Makers.TV programs.
There are a lot of brave new worlds to be conquered. To begin, we must create the seedlings that can grow to great oaks. We believe in magic. We believe in dreams. Teams who can execute magic are the ones who have the power to enrapture the world… and to change it.
Originally published at sosv.com on January 30, 2014.