Meet any of the new real estate tech entrepreneurs and you'll notice something missing...fear in their eyes.
While their fear may be deeply embedded in their hearts as they are building their businesses (my present company, The News Funnel, included), it's hard to tell by just looking at them. You won't see the panic and fear. They typically aren't the loudest ones. There is a calm aura around most of them that defies what they are up against.
And, if anyone should be fearful, it’s this group. Many (again, myself included) have left good paying, steady jobs to embark on a journey the risk-adverse would consider sheer lunacy. And, when you think about it, you have to be nuts to actually WANT to pursue this type of lifestyle. Most don’t even do it for the money; they do it because they get a rush from proving to themselves that they can accomplish something extraordinary.
Think about the very nature of a tech startup and the long odds of success. When I started my first company, a public relations firm, we achieved revenue very quickly and remained profitable almost every year for 25 years. Most (smart) companies are selling a product that generates revenue. But a tech startup only bleeds money. For most of them, the financial deficit is there for their entire existence.
And then there are all the other market forces facing tech startups. All of your hard work and ideas are up for grabs – out in the open. While I want to believe that people don’t steal, competitors are watching your every move. You become transparent and vulnerability surrounds you.
And that's understood going in.
So why do it?
I can’t really explain it myself. For me, I built a company that had finally achieved a healthy point of maturation and generated a nice living for my family. And I left it to start all over again. And get my ass kicked daily!
When I meet with my fellow real estate tech entrepreneurs like Jason Freedman of 42Floors, Nick Romito of View the Space, or Michael Mandel of Compstak, I see it in their faces as well. No fear. They see something and most likely they are often alone in seeing it. Like that kid in that movie "Sixth Sense", we see things others don’t.
But it’s a lonely, hard and uphill climb.
So here's to the risk takers. It’s not easy to explain them, but you'll know one when you see one.