Following your dreams

One thing I try to teach Patrick, my 13-year-old son, is that he can make his dreams happen. That’s why today I’m taking him to the San Francisco Apple store. No, dummy, not to check out the latest Macs or iPods, but to meet Aaron Stanton.

Who’s he? Well, he thinks he has a good idea for Google. So, he flew to Mountain View and hung out in Google’s lobby until someone would talk with him.

I thought it was a brilliant idea. No, not his tech/business idea. I have no idea what it is. But the idea of using both this Website and his strategy for getting heard.

By the way, lawyers tell employees at big companies not to listen to unsolicited ideas. Why? Well, if the company ends up doing the idea it’ll end up with legal exposure. I’ve heard of lots of stories of employees already working on a similar idea anyway.

One question I have is: if the idea is so good, why not just visit Sand Hill Road instead and get a company funded based on it? Big companies (even ones like Google) will rarely execute on totally novel new ideas.

Why? Committees and not invented here syndrome. If you talk with 10 random smart people about an idea, at least one of them will say it’s impossible. I want you to watch the interview with Ben Segal at CERN again and again until you get this. He told me that if he had thought of doing Internet search back in 1992, he would have dismissed the idea of “impossible.”

I want you to think about that. Here’s one of the smartest guys in the world. And he thought something was impossible that clearly wasn’t. He would have dismissed that idea.

Now, Google is full of smart guys like Ben. Your idea doesn’t have a chance there.

Instead, go get some money, hire a couple of smart programmers who are looking to build something “impossible” and make a company happen. Then, get bought by Google after it realizes that it’ll miss out on a new market if it doesn’t get in (or that Microsoft could pick up some marketshare on its back).