An unintended outcome of spending many years at tough problems is an internal bias for bigger and bolder ideas. When selecting a problem to work on or invest in, one may still goof up on many fronts – early traction, trend spotting, consumer behavior, launch timing, funding, and so on. Yet there’s one trend that I’ll bet on, and it will serve me better than all others. I call it FYF – Five Year Founder.
Preparing the major stake holders (founders, early angels, supporters) for a five-year horizon will benefit everyone more than any other business move. It is not simple to do this, hence it’s not common, and neither is it tactical. It is however supremely effective, survival-driven, and somewhat spiritual. No different from marathon training.
If you’re like me, where you get excited by consumer nirvana, or by disruptive ideas that promise change then you need to consider the FYF paradigm. The statistics will never change on success rates – most of us will merely get to use or talk about products such as iPod, Google, or Wikipedia; very few will get the opportunity to attempt parallels, and only countable few worldwide will create such products. Those countable few will be FYFs. Those who keep at it with a beginner’s mind and a design thinker’s mind.
Whether I invest time or money or belief in something, I want to find the FYF. That’s going to be the big trend that survives all other “big” trends.