Wednesday, September 19, 2012

At the Intersection of Idealism and Realism

When you've been online for many years and have been actively involved with a wide range of forums you get a LOT of fairly random email... including email asking for various forms of help. Getting help to get projects going has gotten easier than ever, thanks to online services like "Kickstarter," "GoFundMe" and several others that allow people to fund their dreams with peer support, rather than depending on bank loans or "rich uncle" funding.

However, it saddens me that so many amazing projects driven by beautiful ideas (and ideals) are created and doomed to fail... only because of piss-poor planning and unrealistic expectations.

Not thinking of anything or anyone in particular... because I see this ALL the time.

"Wow... you invented a new biofuel based on water, which will cut the cost of running your car by 90%, and the manufacturing bi-products happens a cure for cancer? And now you want to bring it to market yourself instead of letting some big corporation bury it somewhere? That's the most amazing and beautiful thing I have very heard! Go YOU!"

Long pause...

"Wait..... what? You want everyone to know about it and have the whole thing funded and developed in the next 30 DAYS? And you only have $43 to make this a reality? On WHAT planet is that possible?"

There's this surrounding illusion that "people" will want to get involved because there's this great idea. Unfortunately, these mystical "people" tend to get sent 300 "amazing ideas" every week... and they won't know you even exist... unless Warren Buffett happens to be a close personal friend. The dream that your idea will "go viral" and half a million people hand over $20 each to fund your Kickstarter campaign is pretty much just that... a dream.

The reality of life is that 99.9% of people have to be pounded in the head 600 times with a 20lb sledgehammer before they recognize-- let alone start MOVING towards... then accept and embrace-- a new idea, or a new product, or whatever... so unless you have that rich uncle you didn't tell me about and 20 of your closest friends happen to be movers and shakers with 5 million followers on twitter, you'd better re-think your approach.

Am I jaded and cynical? Do I not believe in realizing dreams? No, not exactly. I've dealt with the marketing of non-mainstream ideas and products for over 25 years... and my experience (even when you have most amazing and worthwhile thing) has been that to make your DREAMS become a REALITY... you have to step outside "dreamland" and "get REAL" with your dreams. Otherwise they shall remain... sadly... "dreams."

Not long ago, I watched the brother of a prominent writer wanting to create a documentary about his now deceased brother's life and times. Indeed, a very interesting project with a fairly broad appeal. Even with all the web tools we now have, it took him 90 days of persistent marketing and awareness generation to barely raise the needed funds. And this was someone with a fair amount of resources and an extensive contact list.

Certainly not writing these words to discourage people from pursuing their dreams. Merely pointing out that the whole notion of "making our dreams a reality" revolves around the word "REALITY." Which means the success of bringing your dream to market means you have to DEAL with reality... and plan around reality. Whereas it does happen-- once in a blue moon-- the "And Then A Miracle Happened" method of dream development is notoriously unreliable....

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