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Before the business plan, the pitch deck, the company name, the logo, and the business cards, the most powerful thing you have as an entrepreneur is a vision that people can believe in. A powerful vision will attract the right people, opportunities, and ideas.

One of the myths about visionary companies revealed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in "Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" is that it doesn't take a great idea to start a great company. The reality is that few of the visionary companies the research began with a great idea. Several began without any idea at all. Most just began with a few people dedicated to realizing a singular vision.

Your product will evolve over time, but your vision should remain constant. Your first product may fail, but if you're truly committed to the vision, then you will go back to the drawing board to try to find another way to achieve it.

People want to feel like they are changing the world everyday they come to work. The challenge of actualizing the company's vision ignites their fire more so than the product itself. The product is a manifestation of the vision, not the other way around. Trying to blindly build a product without a vision may bring you some financing, a niche market, and some PR, but in the long-run it may cost you valuable team members, your integrity, and most importantly, your life.

The last thing you want to do is spend ten years building something that made lots of money but failed to achieve your initial vision. You could have got a job for that.

In addition to reading "Built To Last" (click here for summary), I also recommend that you read Randy Komisar's "Monk & The Riddle". It documents the journey of a technology entrepreneur and his struggle to create value for the world as his vision gets clouded by profit, prestige, and people.


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Jullien's Purpose Statement

My purpose is to help as many people as possible reach their full potential by helping them making a living doing what they love and in the process of doing so achieve my own. I want to do this through writing, speaking, and creating offline and online spaces that facilitate conversations around purpose.

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