A few months back, I saw a post by Ray Newal from Techstars that really resonated.
“One of the biggest threats to founders today is false positive signaling. It’s easy to mistake the popularity of posts on social media, or the receipt of unknown or unanticipated awards as signs of success. Be very clear, the only true indicator of success for a business is profit, and growth. Anything else is noise.”
This is one of the quotes you can read more than once, as when the message really sinks in, it’s the perfect message for any entrepreneur in the world we live in today.
Earlier today, an entrepreneur shared a LinkedIn post urging founders that the only way they could be successful is if they were very active on Twitter and Social Media. With one message that irked me the most, “Build your personal brand, before your product.”
To some that know me as a successful entrepreneur, I hope this advice means something.
I wholeheartedly disagree with this philosophy and if you follow this, sadly your career as an entrepreneur will be short lived. A personal brand doesn’t pay your bills, a real product does. The most successful businesses today weren’t built on noise. They were built with hard work, substance, and sacrifice. Not through mindless social media chatter.
It baffles me that people are enamored with noise, this “false positive dopamine high” – that most people forget their own signal to just focus and execute.
I would love to see how sitting behind a computer typing mindlessly away to people you don’t even know – helps generate customers, investors all while building an amazing product?
Substance is everything. Social Validation means nothing.
The need for notoriety is the new “promise land” as people rush to be known for something before they are even successful at anything. Rush for validation from peers, validation from friends and even validation from the press. For some reason, acceptance and accolades are now taken very seriously by people. But, I assure you this is not the way entrepreneurship works.
In the past year at my current company, RedLotus, we have worked hard building IP, filed for patents, received patents while trying to build something truly great. Even if you go to our website, you won’t see what we’re building with zero press mentions. Our website will even throw you off, as another me-too “advertising company.” And, believe me it’s designed that way, by me. The only form of validation I seek is from my customers. Please read that again. The only validation you need is from your customers.
Businesses are made only by hustle. Don’t ever confuse hustle with standing behind a keyboard hashtagging away. Substance always wins.
So, the next time you go, “Oh my god this founder “liked my tweet”, oh my god this “VC” retweeted me. Oh my god “all my friends liked my post.”
Let me be the first one to give you the cold hearted truth.
Likes, tweets, and retweets don’t build businesses.
In reality, nobody really gives a shit.
Stay quiet and Keep building.