The Best Ideas Don’t Come From Conformists: A Digital Perspective

Imagination and opportunity drives technology.

  • Microsoft: Co-founders Bill Gates & Paul Allen dreamed of a personal computer in every home and identified the need for software and an easy-to-use operating system. Bill & Paul dropped out of college, moved to Albuquerque, built BASIC and MS-DOS, struck a partnership with IBM, and the rest is history.
  • Facebook: While at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg envisioned a need to provide an online community where individuals can share whatever they like about themselves and connect with friends and family. When Mark opened Facebook to the world in 2006, the Facebook era started and is still going strong.

Bill, Paul and Mark are great technologists—but they built empires on their imagination, vision and execution of that vision. They each saw an opportunity and used technology to seize that opportunity. We could go on with additional examples including Jobs & Wozniak at Apple, Ellison at Oracle, Bezos at Amazon, and the founders of Paypal (and Elon Musk). The lesson here is to not start with what you know, or technology, as that is limiting. Start with your imagination and identify opportunities.