The news today that the Winklevoss twins will not be getting any further settlement from Facebook beyond their $65 million, makes me think about the missed opportunities we have all had in business and how we have handled it – hopefully with more dignity than the latter two?
For those of you who aren’t across it, the Winklevoss twins enlisted Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, to assist them with a Harvard social networking site called ConnectU. Instead, Mark created Facebook, which as we all know has taken over the world.
Now the Winklevoss twins didn’t create ConnectU, nor did they had the capability -they had an idea. We all have ideas but what separates the entrepreneurs from the rest of the pack is that the entrepreneurs make it happen. Did the Winklevoss’s make it happen, did they do it? No, they thought about it, but Mark Zuckerberg actually did it. I am sure we all wish we could get a $65 million settlement for the ideas we have thought about, but never actually completed.
As a business owner there are opportunities I know have passed me by and some I regret. Like the cupcake shops…I wanted to open a cupcake shop like Magnolias in New York eight years ago, before everyone in Australia opened cupcake shops, but I didn’t. Should I now sue others who did – probably not, because I can’t cook and I didn’t actually do it for myself.
My personal opinion is that the Winklevoss twins have probably damaged their own brand/ name so significantly by trying to ride on Facebook’s coat tails that they will need that $65 million to support them for the rest of their lives, as no one is employing these grubby, money hungry lookalikes, Harvard graduates or not.
I think in business there are certainly those of us who do and those of us who think. Sometimes it is the fear of ‘what if,’ sometimes it is the fact that by nature we are risk adverse, and sometimes it is that we don’t believe in ourselves enough to make it happen.
I am pleased I started my company at 23 because I had no fear, I wasn’t concerned about the risk and there was no thought in my mind that I wouldn’t succeed. As you get older I think that naturally changes, but I also think you need to fight your own insecurities.
I believe those of us that succeed in business get up every morning and back ourselves. I also believe those who succeed will sometimes fail, but the difference between an entrepreneur and those that aren’t, is that you get back up and you go again, no matter how demoralising it is to face. How many failed businesses has Richard Branson had? Many, but we only really know of the ones that succeeded. Donald Trump went completely bankrupt in the 90’s but came back with vengeance.
My message to the Winklevoss twins and those out there ‘thinking’ is that we only regret the things we didn’t do. So act now, if you have an awesome business idea, but are afraid to take the next step, don’t just step off the platform and take a running leap, or you will end up like the Winklevoss’s – shoulda, coulda, woulda….but never did. In saying that, with $65 million and no balls on the line in getting Facebook to that stage in business – world domination, they are probably pretty happy with themselves – but business ethics is a whole other blog.