Talking the talk and walking the walk – what a big difference. Everyday hundreds of ideas pass us by; everyday hundreds of people think/discuss about their amazing ideas; everyday hundreds fight to keep the implementation of their idea alive just one more day, but there are a handful that make it to the other side. A few days back, i heard about the founder and CEO of TerraCycle – Tom Szaky on NPR. I couldn’t believe, he is only 23 years and he started this company when he was 19. I have tremendous respect for young entrepreneurs. His idea – sell waste using waste. Here is an excerpt by Bo Burlingham of Inc.com
It may well be the world’s first commercial product made entirely from garbage. The plant food itself is a so-called vermicompost tea, a brew made from the castings (that is, the poop) of red worms that have feasted on various types of organic waste. The containers are reused soda bottles. The spray tops are the unwanted extras that have been dumped by manufacturers of other spray-on products. Even the boxes that the plant food is shipped in are garbage: They’re the misprinted rejects of major companies.
How did he come up with this idea?
When he was a freshman at Princeton University, some of his friends were trying unsuccessfully to grow marijuana in their basement and they used various kinds of chemical, but were unsuccessful. Then they tried fertilizing the plants with worm poop and it fixed everything. Quoting from an article on Tom, (7 page article – must read)
As it happened, Szaky had been searching for a business to enter in Princeton’s annual business plan competition to be held in early 2002. The answer came to him as he and his friends were enjoying the fruits of their labor. Worms! If these worms could turn table scraps into such terrific fertilizer, just think what you could do with an army of worms! You could recycle all the organic waste in North America! You could solve the problem of dwindling landfill space! You could replace chemical fertilizers with organic fertilizers! And you could make a fortune!
Have you ever had any such idea that just popped up while you were living your life as usual? And did you do something about it (not necessarily start a business) – maybe help solve some crisis, or present it for a class project or as business plan or it helped you earn some extra cash? What did you see that nobody else could see even tho it was always there in front of everyone.
Of course you need talent to achieve success. But what if you think you don’t have as much talent or experience to achieve your goals?
It took Steve Jobs and pool of talented team to create a buzz for iPhone and send the share price of Apple soaring by 7% in Jan 2007. It took a pool of talented engineers with decades of experience and numerous hours to design and produce iPhone. But it took only 500 hours for George Hotz – a 17 year old teen to be the first one to have unlocked the iPhone so that it can be used with any wireless network (not just AT&T) and send Apple’s share prices up by 3.2% on 24th August 2007.
How could this have been possible? Was he more talented or experienced than the team of engineers at Apple? I doubt that. Only combination that can supersede talent is consistency and persistency backed by dominant desire. Dictionary.com defines ‘consistent’ as “constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc.” and ‘persistent’ as “refusing to give up or let go; persevering obstinately.”
George bought an iPhone on 29th June and unlocked it by 22nd August. He spent over 500 hours to achieve this. That is over 10 hours/day working towards just a possibility in mind. He and his friends thrived on energy drinks to get through this period. So for consistently 50 days, he spent 10 hours every day on persistently googling and applying trial and error techniques to unlock the iPhone. The important point to note here is that the backbone for his consistent and persistent effort was a DOMINANT DESIRE – the starting point of all achievements. His dominant desire was to have an iPhone that he could use on his T-Mobile family plan. Simple? I don’t think so… every cell-phone literate human being in world wanted to use this “thing of beauty” – the iPhone on his or her wireless network. But very few had the desire dominant and strong enough to make that a reality. One of them, infact the first one was George Hotz.
Often we have trouble in working consistently and persistently towards achieving our goals – loose weight or start own business or get a professional degree etc. etc. Culprit, is usually the lack of strength in your DESIRE. To change the outcome, focus on changing the intensity of desire – how ‘bad’ do you want to achieve your goal; how hungry you are for success, how much does it hurt you for not being at your “destination” with passing day? Ignite your desire (pain or want) more and your work ethic will automatically reach a a level that is needed to achieve your goals.
Checkout George Hotz blog and read his 10 steps to unlock the iPhone. Great work George!!