(Note: Most of this is also reposted at the Social3i.com blog)
Working in an emerging industry like social media, and with clients from Microsoft down to small startups, we’re in a unique position to see a ton of entrepreneurial start-ups. We play with tools from Simply Measured and Visible Technologies, work with WordPress Plug-ins and developers, and see everything from new Facebook radio applications to sports energy drinks.
So, when a publisher like Geekwire sets up a Fireside chat with Rich Barton, it’s kind of a can’t miss event. I’ve seen Rich speak a number of times, and his mantra about online marketing carries with me whenever I see a new business plan. His line is simple to remember and generally dead on: “Whatever can be free will be free, whatever can be found will be found, and whatever can be rated will be rated.”
But last week at Spitfire, Rich added one more message to the Seattle VC and entrepreneurial community. He said (and I paraphrase here), “The problem with the Seattle Entrepreneurial community is that no enough people swing for the home run. It takes just as much energy to walk out of the dugout and bunt as it takes to walk out of the dugout and swing for the fences.”
It’s a fair and accurate comment, and something even more extraordinary when you consider that besides Barton, there are at least 4 or 5 other Seattle based entrepreneurs who went long a decade or more ago:
– Bill Gates, who put a PC on every desktop.
– Howard Schultz, who put a $4.00 cup of coffee in everyone on the planet’s hand.
– Jeff Bezos, who made it possible to buy anything from anyplace, anytime for a market price, and get it delivered almost overnight.
– Paul Allen, whose goals are so big and audacious he probably overshoots them by a few years (ie space travel.)
Barton’s message which every marketer should hear as well – “Pick a Big Hairy Audacious Goal and don’t surround yourself with any team members who don’t think that big. People have an amazing capacity to do huge things if a huge goal is set before them.”
It seems like a good lesson for all of us in either digital marketing or entrepreneurship.