Don’t worry if you don’t know “absolutely everything” before starting out
Before they launched their car companies, Henry Ford and Karl Benz didn’t decide to first spend a decade trying to win the approval of prominent horse breeders or railway magnates. Same goes for the Wright Brothers.
When Google– the most successful advertising business in the history of the world– started their company, their founders knew practically nothing about the inside workings of Madison Avenue. Sergey Brin and Larry Page most likely had zero inside knowledge about famous advertising titans like Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, Lee Clowes, John Hegarty or Claude Hopkins. They were just a couple of twenty-something Stanford PhD students, who were far more interested in Internet search engines than they ever were in Nielsen Ratings, Proctor & Gamble or The Clio Awards. Which helps explain why, when the normal, mainstream, industry-obsessed kids of around the same age were just landing their first East Coast internships or junior executive positions at advertising blue-chips like McCann’s, Lintas, DDB or Saatchi’s, Sergey and Larry were already well on their way to becoming billionaires.
I love this story about Bill Gates: Some years ago, when the company he founded, Microsoft was at the height of its powers, he was giving a lecture to some college students. When the the Question & Answers came along, a keen undergraduate asked the question, “What advice would you give to a young person like me who wants to make a lot of money some day?”
Gates’ answer was as wonderful as it was short: “For Goodness’ sake, don’t do what I did. That money’s already been made by me.”