Entrepreneur: What Colour is Your Parachute?

In the digital age, the mission of an entrepreneur is to create new products and services, either for consumers or for enterprises. There are so many entrepreneurs who have got the idea, the network, and the capital, but the successful ones are few and far between. So what separates the successful ones from those who failed?

When the external factors such as capital and policies are similar, what matters the most is people. Often, those who built successful companies from the ground up with products and services well-received by the customers, are those who have already succeeded in a highly competitive environment from a young age – either as a student or as a young employee. Among their peers, they may not be the smartest scientifically, nor the best programmers. However, they are among the most proactive and pragmatic kind who have the vision, courage, and perseverance.


Vision starts from an idea or a need. It can evolve over time. In the software industry, the vision of a future product is initially realised by creating prototypes. We call this process “proof-of-concept”.

Should a founder create prototypes themselves or hire a team to do so? It is not a simple answer. There are pros and cons. From my experience of creating the Melbourne Train Timetable prototypes, I found that there were a lot of challenges in this process and it was time-consuming if not done by a team. However, it gave me a better understanding of what the product could become than anyone else.

Anybody can have an idea or thought. The challenge is that whether the idea is ahead of the time in terms of design, feasibility and usability. Moreover, can it stand the test of time?


Trying new things takes courage, especially in an environment where authority and seniority are respected but not creativity. Whether it is a new tool, a new way of thinking or a new product, anything different from the status quo can cause people raising eyebrows. When you have one thousand reasons to give up, should you give up? Or should you continue?

Often, in a “red tape” environment, you rarely see innovation truly happening. However, there are exceptions. For those who are passionate about new things, and are bold enough to think different and create something truly innovative, we call them “genius”.


Developing a new product is a significant undertaking. From finding the right tools to creating each new feature, there are so many challenges along the way. Some people quit after failing to find the right tools. Some quit after having trouble to create a prototype. Without perseverance, I can not imagine how a product can be built with hundreds of features or thousands of features, and is well received by the customer.

If the founders have blogs to talk about their ideas, insights and work experiences, please do read them, as it reveals how intelligent they are and how hard they have tried to get something done.





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