When It’s Darkest
Men See the Stars
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this quote.
Several times over my career, we’ve been blinded by the light. Things seemed perfect. There was nothing that could stop us. This expectation lulled us to sleep and miss the things we should have worked on. These “sure things” turned out not to be. Sometimes when we are basking in the glow, we need to step away so we can see the bigger picture. This is one way the quote above strikes me.
But it also seems to be the mantra of those who are trying to startup a company without any investment. Large amounts of money coming in creates a false sense of security — that your idea is a sure thing. This can lead to catastrophic results. I know of one company in my industry that took over $100M in investment dollars and sold for $3M! The better strategy is to find the small pockets of light, the little wins, that can result in some revenue coming into your business. Figure out how to be profitable in the small first, then you can learn how to scale that into something bigger. Following this path allows you to see things that the big giants can’t, and to find places to create highly profitable businesses.
Finally, on a personal note, I think it’s important to recognize that when things seem most dark, we should stop staring at our feet and see the hope of things to come.