There\u2019s never been a better time to act on your \u201cbig idea\u201d. And this manifesto will show you how.\r\nEntrepreneurs Are Everywhere\r\nWhile we may look different and speak different languages, the world is flatter than it\u2019s ever been. We are living through a global entrepreneurial renaissance that can be witnessed in the worldwide explosion of university entrepreneurial programs, startup accelerators, and corporate innovation incubators started in just the last 5 years.\r\nWe all want the same things and fear the same things.\r\nThe Persona of the Garage Entrepreneur Has Changed\r\nEntrepreneurs are no longer just two guys in a garage. They can be found in all walks of life. The reasons for this sudden spike can be attributed to:\r\n\r\nRising student debt:\u00a0Student debt in the United States recently crossed the $1 trillion mark. We are still training the next generation to be workers at an ever increasing tuition cost, but good work has gotten harder to come by\u2026More students are instead seeking out entrepreneurial education and experiences while in college (and even high school)\u200a\u2014\u200asome with aspirations to build the next Facebook, while others simply want to better equip themselves.\r\n\r\nNo lifelong employment:\u00a0With the security of lifelong employment and pensions gone, more people are looking to get in the driver\u2019s seat and take control of their destiny. Side business startups are on the rise.\r\n\r\nThe need for large companies to innovate or be disrupted:\u00a0The pace of disruptive innovation has been accelerating over the last decade, with Blockbuster being the latest casualty in the news. Even previous disruptors are starting to get disrupted by newcomers. This has magnified the increasingly important role of intrapreneurs.\r\nThere is No Better Time to Start\r\nWhat has really accelerated the uptake of entrepreneurship globally is that for the first time in history, we all, more or less, have access to the same tools, knowledge, and resources thanks to the Internet, globalization, and technologies enabled by Open Source and Cloud Computing. It is cheaper and faster than ever before to launch a new business, and there is no better time than the present to start.\r\n\r\nThis represents an incredible opportunity for all of us.\r\n\r\nBut there is a dark cloud in all of this.\r\nMost Products Still Fail\r\nWhile we are building more products than ever before, the sad reality is that the success rate of these products hasn\u2019t changed much. The odds are still heavily stacked against starting a new business and most of these products unfortunately still fail.\r\n\r\nAnd that\u2019s a real problem.\r\n\r\nWe pour a lot of our time, money, and effort into these products. Especially for a first-time entrepreneur, these failures can be a real setback both emotionally and also financially.\r\nA Dozen Reasons Why Products Fail\r\nHere are twelve reasons we commonly attribute to failed ideas:\r\n\r\n\tNo money\r\n\tPoor team\r\n\tPoor product\r\n\tBad timing\r\n\tNo customers\r\n\tCompetition\r\n\tLack of focus\r\n\tLack of passion\r\n\tBad location\r\n\tNot profitable\r\n\tBurn out\r\n\tLegal issues\r\n\r\nThe Number One Reason Why Products Fail\r\nAt the heart of all these reasons is one core reason:\r\n\r\nWe simply build something nobody wants.\r\n\r\nAll the others are secondary manifestations or rationalizations of this brutal reality.\r\n\r\nWhy does this happen? I attribute the entrepreneur\u2019s singular passion for their solution as the top contributor to this failure. This is the Innovator\u2019s Bias that causes us to fall in love with our solution and makes \u201cbringing our baby to life\u201d our sole mission.\r\n\r\nBut a build-first approach is backwards. It\u2019s backwards because you can\u2019t brute-force a solution without a pre-existing problem.\r\nThe Number Two Reason Why Products Fail\r\nFailing at something requires starting. The number two reason why products fail is that they never even get started. We spend too much time analyzing, or planning, or making excuses for not starting\u200a\u2014\u200awe wait to first write a business plan, or find investors, or move to Silicon Valley.\r\nYou Don\u2019t Need Permission to Start\r\nThe world has changed. Going back just a decade, starting up was expensive. Getting software licenses to build your product, or office space to meet with your team, required capital investment. Today, all these things are free.\r\n\r\nThe question today isn\u2019t:\r\nCan we build this?\r\nBut,\r\nShould we build this?\r\nYou don\u2019t need lots of money, people, or time to answer this question. Here\u2019s how\u2026\r\nLove the Problem, Not Your Solution\r\nIt starts with a fundamental mind shift. Your customers don\u2019t care about your solution but their goals. Identify the problems or obstacles that get in the way of their goals, and you identify the right solution to build.\r\nHaving more passion for your solution than your customer\u2019s problem, is a problem.\r\nDon\u2019t Write a Business Plan\r\nBusiness plans take too long to write and nobody reads the whole thing anyway. Create a 1-page business model instead. It takes 20 minutes versus 20 days. People can\u2019t help but read it and share what they think. That\u2019s a win.\r\nSpend more time building versus planning your business.\r\nYour Business Model is THE Product\r\nThere is no business in your business model without revenue. Revenue is like oxygen. While you don\u2019t live for oxygen, you need oxygen to live. Your world-changing idea is the same.\r\n\r\nBefore rushing to build, make sure that the underlying problems you identified in the previous step represent a monetizable problem worth solving.\r\nThe best evidence of monetizable pain is a check being written.\r\nFocus on Time Versus Timing\r\nYou can\u2019t control the timing of your idea but you can control how long you spend on your idea. Unlike money or people which can fluctuate up or down, time only moves in one direction.\r\nTime is your scarcest resource. Spend it wisely.\r\nTime-box everything. The power of a deadline is that it comes due\u200a\u2014\u200aprovided, of course, that the world doesn\u2019t come to an end first. Set an appointment with your team to share your results and discuss how you move forward from wherever you end up by the deadline. Set another deadline and go. This is the best way to hold yourself accountable.\r\nNot Acceleration, But Deceleration\r\nOptimizing for time does not mean going fast on everything, but rather slowing down to focus on the right thing. Pareto\u2019s 80\/20 rule applies here. Your biggest results will come from just a few key actions.\r\nYour job is to prioritize what\u2019s riskiest first and ignore the rest\u200a\u2014\u200auntil it becomes what\u2019s riskiest.\r\nNot Faux Validation, But Traction\r\nThe number of features, size of your team, or how much money you have in the bank are not the right measures of progress.\r\n\r\nThere is only one metric that matters\u200a\u2014\u200aTraction.\r\nTraction is the rate at which you capture monetizable value from customers.\r\nDon\u2019t ask people what they think of your idea.\r\n\r\nOnly customers matter.\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t ask customers what they think of your idea.\r\n\r\nMeasure what they do.\r\nRemove Failure from Your Vocabulary\r\nThe fail-fast meme is all about embracing failure as par for the course. However, the taboo of failure is so crippling that most people work really hard to avoid, sugar-coat, or run away from failure. This is counter-productive. You need to instead completely remove \u201cfailure\u201d from your vocabulary.\r\n\r\n\tBreak your big ideas or strategies into small, fast, additive experiments.\r\n\tUse staged rollouts to implement your ideas from small to large scale.\r\n\tDouble-down on good ideas, and silently discard your bad ideas.\r\n\r\nWhen you do these three things, you aren\u2019t failing, but course-correcting towards a larger goal.\r\nBe brutal with your ideas but have faith in yourself.\r\nIt\u2019s Time to Act on Your Big Idea\r\nThere are no shortages of problems in the world. As an entrepreneur, you are wired differently. You are wired to seek out solutions. All you have to do is channel your attention on the right problem. And you\u2019ll leave the world better off than when you entered it. Isn\u2019t that all that really matters?\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t waste this moment. It\u2019s time to dust off the ideas deep in the recess of your mind and take action.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s time to reboot, level up, and start.