There Is a New Animal in Silicon Valley
June 26, 2017

There Is a New Animal in Silicon Valley

by Brian de Haaff

There is a new animal in Silicon Valley. And it is nothing like the unicorns you have read about in the past. This new beast is not quite as flashy. It moves a little slower than its spiral-horned counterpart — the one who galloped to ridiculous valuations at breakneck speed. And you probably will not see this new creature in the news. Why?

Because the new animal in Silicon Valley is not the mythical, headline-making kind. It is more old-fashioned — a workhorse. And its natural behavior surprises some people.

No chasing money, no endless coffee dates with VCs, and no board of director meetings that consume a week of preparation every month.                 

And yet, this workhorse is trotting its way to enormous success. Sounds just as magical as a unicorn, right? Well truthfully, the workhorse may come across as a bit boring at times. It does not hold the same allure as its sparkly, make-believe cousins.

Perhaps because it is pursuing answers to really simple questions, such as, “What do our customers really need? How can our product make our customers’ lives easier?”

The workhorse pursues profitability fast so it can fund the business. But because it is not wasting time chasing gobs of investor money or managing board perceptions, it decides its own goals. It holds true to its own vision. And the more customer love it earns, the stronger it becomes.

It is also disciplined in how it spends every single dollar. (No steak and lobster dinners for this creature. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich will do.)

Do not be fooled by hype and empty promises — the myth of the unicorn is fading.

This is why, if you are building products or a company, I encourage you to try something old that is new again — working hard and growing your company purposefully. I share the tools for how to build this kind of lasting business in Lovability, my bestselling new book for product and company builders.

What kind of company do you want to build — one based in myth or in reality?

I know that the unicorn is flashy and can lure you in with the hopes of quick money. But you can choose to revere another animal — familiar, honest, and lasting. And there is nothing mythical about that.

Have you spotted a workhorse in the wild?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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