Having been on both sides of the table on this many, many, times.. I have a strong appreciation for the gray area between driven and delusional.
Steve’s tests are a great mental model for gut-checking, but I *will say this*: most good mentors will recognize driven genius when they see it, and are happy to step back, let you run your experiments (that’s all they are, right?), and drum up actual *data* to prove them wrong.
If an experienced mentor is really digging his/her heels in and insisting that I’m headed down the wrong rabbit-hole, it would give me pause enough to design an experiment to test his/her hypotheses.
Are You Crazy Enough?
What we suggest to teams in the classroom is the same as I suggest to teams in real world startups – after customers and experienced people are telling you it won’t work –
- Are you passionate enough to still believe?
- Can you explain after why getting out of the building and hearing all the negative news you still want to persevere?
- Will it change the world enough to make it worth the trials, travails and pain in getting there?
If so, ignore the other voices. The world moves forward on those who are dissidents. Because without dissent there is no creativity. A healthy disrespect for the status quo coupled with passion, persistence and agility trumps everything else.
- Steve Blank
Entrepreneurship always comes with a healthy dose of reality-distortion, but it’s dangerous to rely on it any more than is absolutely necessary. There’s no reason to relish delusions of grandeur: grand data is more fun :)