Here is my advice to young entrepreneurs, which applies as much to them as it does to me: Pursue your passion because, if you believe in the quality of your idea and enjoy the creative process, youth is neither a handicap nor a hindrance to success.
It is, instead, an opportunity – time is our most sacred commodity – to learn from one’s mistakes, and to succeed more rapidly – and extensively – than someone many years older than you. Put aside the idea that wisdom is the product of longevity, that you cannot be wise without the passage of time – without the passage of years – whereupon people will then listen to you. Nonsense!
You can be young and wise, or old and foolish, depending on what lessons you choose to learn from your life in business. I write these words not only as the Founder and CEO of WOW, an application for iOS and Android (forthcoming) smartphones and tablets, but as someone fully aware of what I do not know. Which is why I savor every second of every day, in and outside of work, because I abhor routine since it leads to a routine style of thinking which is risk-averse, conformist and self-defeating.
For example: At nineteen I do not proclaim to know – it would be foolish for me to even pretend to know – everything about building a business, developing a product, and preparing to release a service among a worldwide community of consumers and critics alike. I do, however, know how to recruit talent, delegate authority, set deadlines, manage expectations and assign responsibilities to various team members. I also know that experience comes from doing, not thinking about what to do; which is to say, if you lack experience – create it. Start your business, and get the training no school can offer and no amount of time can match. Or, to borrow a phrase from the world of advertising: Just do it.
Indeed, in spite of my age, I have the respect of my coworkers not because I underwrite their projects or subsidize their salaries, but because I have done everything to earn their respect. Which brings me to another point: Regardless of whether you are a neophyte or a veteran executive, no matter your level of training or the degree of your experience, a business will not succeed – it cannot even function – without respect between and among workers, without trust by and to a CEO and his employees.
In my case, I have to be as fluent about my business – including the technology behind my app – as those I hire, each of whom may be twice my age or older. I have to project confidence, and act with conviction, because I cannot fabricate authenticity. Only by doing the work of a CEO can I be more than that title; I must not become – and I will never allow myself to be – a CEO in name only. I must be as critical of myself as I am toward my products; I must suppress my ego, and look at my work with maximum scrutiny to achieve impressive improvement.
I conclude with some insight about WOW – and the wow factor of professional success.
I am in the midst of following my dream, to develop and market an app that will revolutionize how people share and gain fame by following their respective sports and pastimes. That is the story of WOW, but the wow factor – what excites me and other entrepreneurs the world over – is the chance to make a difference; to inspire individuals, empower users and transform something of lasting importance.
This guest post is courtesy of Pak H. Chau, Founder and CEO of WOW Sports.