1评论 2016-03-07 10:00:59 来源:36氪 华资实业20%大肉分享

    编者按:本文编译自 Floodgate 基金的合伙人 Mike Maples 的博文《Finding Billion Dollar Secrets》。

    译者戴汨,愉悦资本创始合伙人(midai@joycapital.com.cn, 微信 midai2008)。

    很多人读过 Peter Thiel 的《从 0 到 1》,殊不知对 Peter Theil 影响最大的是法国哲学家勒内·吉拉尔的观点:人的欲望是模仿的。摆脱模仿这个错误的操作系统,你才能找到创造传奇企业的秘密。


    If you aspire to do something truly legendary, in business or any other field, you will discover that the biggest breakthroughs come from obsessively pursuing insights that defy conventional wisdom.


    In the startup world, this translates to having what PayPal founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel calls a “secret” or what Benchmark co-founder Andy Rachleff would describe as an idea that is “non-consensus and right.” Before diving into why this is true, let’ s summarize these two views:

    在创业的世界里,这可以翻译为:PayPal 的创始人和 Facebook 的投资者 Peter Thiel 所说的 “秘密”,或者 Benchmark 基金的联合创始人 Andy Rachleff 所形容的 “非共识” 但正确的想法。在仔细讨论为什么是这样之前,我们先总结一下这两种观点:

    1. Peter Thiel: Great founders hunt for secrets(伟大的创始人追寻秘密)

    From his days as a Stanford student, Peter Thiel was influenced by the French philosopher René Girard. I learned of his work a little over a decade ago and loved it. One of Girard’ s fundamental ideas is that human desire is mimetic, which means that most of our desires come from our observations of the desires of other people, rather than the desires we generate internally for ourselves. There are LOTS of implications to this for society, and Peter describes them in his bookZero to One as they relate to startups. The first is that the vast majority of us act out of mimetic desire as if by reflex, starting early in life. We compete for trophies. We get rewarded in school for giving the exact answers the teacher is looking for, but we are often discouraged from providing answers that are too different. “Successful” people often double down on this by seeking education at prestigious Universities, by earning high-paying jobs, and by using the money to live a lifestyle that is broadly desired and admired. It becomes so ingrained in most people’ s thinking that it no longer seems to be a conscious choice.

    当他还是斯坦福大学学生的时候,Peter Thiel 就受法国哲学家勒内.吉拉尔影响。我大概十年前了解到他的作品,并爱上了它。吉拉尔的一个基本思想是:人的欲望是模仿的,这意味着我们的大部分欲望来自于我们对其他人欲望的观察,而不是我们内成的自我欲望。这对社会有很多的的含义,Peter 在他的书 “从 0 到 1” 中描述了这些含义,因为它们与初创公司有关。第一个是,从人生的早期开始,我们绝大多数人都是条件反射性的受模仿欲望驱使。我们争夺奖杯。我们在学校里,给老师想要的答案会得到奖励,给过于不同的答案常常不被鼓励。 “成功” 人士的故事加倍强化了这一效应,他们寻求名牌大学的教育,赚取高薪职位,并用这些钱过上广泛推崇和羡慕的生活。它在大多数人的思维中根深蒂固,以至于看起来都不像是有意识的选择。

    The problem with mimetic desire is that it’ s the wrong “personal operating system” for coming up with a breakthrough idea?—?it is by definition an incrementalist view of the world that emphasizes following the rules and outcompeting others, rather than re-inventing the rules and transcending competition. His second point is that most of us, having been programmed by mimetic desires our entire lives, find it hard not to be reactive to what others are doing. As an investor, I can relate to the many pitches with multiple competitors in a matrix, and their product has more checks than all the others. A typical “mimetic” person will think this way. But a non-conventional founder will notice that chart and immediately two words will come to mind?—?mindless competition.

    模仿性欲望的问题是,它是错误的 “个人操作系统”,难以产生突破性的想法。从定义上,它是渐进主义世界观, 强调了遵守规则和超越别人,而不是重新发明规则和超越竞争。他的第二点是,我们大多数人,整个人生已经被模拟性愿望所编程,很难对别人在做什么不做出反应。作为一个投资者,我容易想起:很多的融资文档在矩阵图上列示了多个竞争对手,而他们的产品具有比其他更多对手更多的功能。一个典型的 “模仿” 的人会像这样思考。非传统的创始人看到这个图表,两个词会浮现在脑海中 - 盲目竞争。

    Another example is when entrepreneurs say things like “We are like Uber for massages,” or “We are like WhatsApp for enterprises” or “We are like Slack for families.” By definition, framing a business this way is likely not based on a fundamental insight. Many competitors (some known and most unknown) have also probably considered these ideas. When I hear a pitch like this, I begin to imagine René Girard is sitting in the room with me.

    另一个例子是,当创业者说Uber 模式的按摩服务,或者我们像企业版的WhatsApp”,或者我们像家庭版的 Slack” 的时候,根据定义,这样来描述一个业务基本上不可能是基于一个根本性的洞见的。许多竞争对手(一些已知和大多数未知的)也可能考虑这些想法。当我听到这样的融资说法,我开始想象勒内.吉拉尔正和我一起坐在房间里。

    Founders who hunt for secrets take a different view. They know that all important things we take for granted today?—?things like Euclidean geometry, the fact that the world is round and not the center of the Universe, quantum physics, how to harness electricity?—?were once secrets uncovered by people who were considered heretics in their time. Like the people through the ages who made great discoveries, great founders similarly tend to gravitate to business ideas that are unconventional breakthroughs based on their domain expertise.Uncovering a true secret can be incredibly valuable.

    那些追寻秘密的创始人持不同的见解。他们知道,我们习以为常的今天所有重要的东西 - 比如欧几里德几何,地球是圆的而且不是宇宙的中心,量子物理学,如何利用电 - 都是被那些在他们的时代被视为异端的人所发现的秘密。和那些不同年代的伟大发现者一样,伟大的创始人着迷的商业想法一定是基于他们专业知识的非常规的突破。揭示一个真正的秘密的价值无与伦比。

    2. Andy Rachleff: Be non-consensus and right(非共识且正确)

    Andy Rachleff views unconventional success through a slightly different lens but with the same broad takeaway. Andy’ s argument, influenced by Howard Marks of Oak Tree Capital, goes as follows: Startup ideas have two dimensions. On one dimension, you can be right or wrong. On the other, you can be consensus or non-consensus.

    Andy Rachleff 采用略有不同的透镜来看待非传统的成功,但同样具有广泛的意义。Andy 的说法,受橡树资本 Howard Marks 先生的影响。创业的想法有两个维度:一个维度上,你可以是对或者是错;另一维度上,你可以是有共识或非共识 (相对于别人)。

    Wrong is always bad.(错误了肯定是不行)

    Obviously, if you are wrong, you are wrong. That’ s bad. You fail.


    …But being right is not enough.(但是正确了并不够)

    Most people don’ t realize that if you are right and consensus, you are usually not successful enough to make a significant impact. Your startup might be onto a good idea that has customers eager to adopt the product. But as your company races toward product/market fit, it encounters severe obstacles. Because the opportunity is widely believed to have promise, multiple me-too competitors are funded by me-too VCs. As competition floods the market, prices erode, sales cycles lengthen, and more money gets poured into the sector. These markets often turn into a VC funding arms race, and each round of financing comes with massive dilution for the founders and employees. In the meantime, potential acquirers gain increasing power to choose among many worthy and well-financed competitors when they consider M&A opportunities, further capping the upside for founders and employees.

    大多数人没有意识到,如果你是对的,并且符合共识,你通常难以足够成功并做出显著的影响。你的创业公司可能基于一个好主意,有客户渴望采用产品。但是,随着你的公司朝着产品 / 市场契合迈进,它遇到严重障碍。因为这个机会被广泛认为有希望,很多 “我也一样” 的竞争对手也会获得 “我也一样” 的 VC 的投资。随着竞争充斥市场,价格受到侵蚀,销售周期加长,更多的钱进入这个领域。这些市场往往会变成一个风险投资军备竞赛,融资的每一轮都带来对创始人和员工的大量稀释。与此同时,潜在收购者在考虑并购机会的时候,议价实力不断增强,可以在多个有价值并且资金充足的竞争对手之间进行选择, 进一步扼杀了创始人和员工的上升空间。

    The path to Legendary: Non-consensus and right(通向传奇之路: 非共识并且正确)

    Apart from the obvious reason that it pays to be a correct contrarian, the dynamics of startups make it vital to be non-consensus and right. It is extraordinarily difficult for a tiny, undercapitalized, understaffed company with zero customers and no market awareness to identify and exploit a new opportunity fast enough to leave all competitors behind. As soon as a business opportunity becomes apparent to even a small number of people, the odds begin to work against the startup. I call this effect the “Startup Law of the Jungle.”

    成为一个正确的逆势而为者回报可观,不仅如此,创业公司的生存环境也决定了非共识并且正确是至关重要的。对于一个微小的、投资不足、人手不足的公司, 没有客户也没有没有市场知名度,要快速识别和利用一个新的机会并甩下所有的竞争对手,是无比困难的事情。当一个商业机会变得明显,即使只有少数人知道了,赔率对创业公司也会变得越来越不利。我称这种效应为 “丛林创业法则”。

If you’ ve ever watched the Nature Channel and seen a baby wildebeest born on the Serengeti plains of East Africa, you can get a visceral feel for what the typical startup faces in its early days. The baby wildebeest is dropped out of its mother’ s womb onto the ground in a wet sack. It can barely stand up and wipe itself off, much less start walking. If the baby animal takes more than five minutes to get moving, it will find itself surrounded by hyenas, jackals, and Nubian vultures circling from above in the sky. Similarly, in the “Startup Law of the Jungle,” startups are initially very vulnerable to the various predators and hazards that surround them. Being non-consensus and right affords the startup the time and runway to survive, adapt, and succeed after trial and error without fatal consequences. It lets them master a set of differentiable and specific skills, and build strength for inevitable competitive battles that will come in the future. When you’ re starting out, it’ s better if your potential competitors don’ t care about what you’ re doing.

    如果你曾经看过的 “大自然” 频道,看到出生于东非塞伦盖蒂平原的婴儿牛羚,你可以体会到什么是典型的创业公司早期面临的感觉。婴儿牛羚包在一个湿袋子里从母亲的子宫里倍扔到地面上。它连站起来把自己擦干净都困难,更不用说开始走路了。如果小牛羚 5 分钟内不能移动,它会发现自己被鬣狗、豺和天空盘旋的努比亚秃鹫所包围。同样,在 “丛林创业法则” 中,初创公司也是非常脆弱,被各种食肉动物和危害所包围。“非共识并且正确” 这一条,可以给创业公司时间和跑道去生存、适应,并在无致命后果的反复试错后获得成功。这让他们掌握了一整套的特定技能,并打造实力准备应对未来不可避免的竞争。当你开始的时候,最好你的潜在竞争对手不关心你在做什么。

    3.Case Study: Chegg(案例研究:Chegg)

    As an investor, I’ ve experienced the good and the bad of backing non-consensus entrepreneurs on many occasions: An example of the “good” is Osman Rashid and Aayush Phumbra of Chegg.

    作为一个投资人,我多次支持非共识创业者,结果有好有坏:“好” 的一个例子是 Chegg 的创始人 Osman Rashid 和 Aayush Phumbra。

    Founded in 2006, Chegg enabled college students to rent textbooks instead of buying them. The value proposition was simple: Rather than pay $100 for a textbook, why not rent it for $30-$40 and give it back? It turns out that students agreed that this value proposition was compelling; Chegg’ s business took off rapidly.

    Chegg 公司成立于 2006年,使大学生租课本而不是购买它们。价值主张很简单:与其支付 $100 买教科书,为什么不用 $30-$40 租然后把它还回去?事实证明,学生们一致认为,这一价值主张是令人信服的; Chegg 的业务起飞迅速。

    In hindsight, you might be surprised that Chegg struggled to raise money more than any company we had backed when it was fundraising in early 2008. We spoke with every VC you can imagine on Sand Hill Road and elsewhere and everyone kept passing. Some cited the example of Varsity Books, which had been a startup right as the bubble burst and which consumed lots of capital for not so great an outcome. A few suggested that the experiment had failed at campus bookstores and that if the experiment didn’ t work with the people who had the most power and mindshare with the students, how could a startup succeed at such a challenging task?

    现在回想起来,你可能会感到惊讶,2008年 初 Chegg 募资的时候,它比我们支持的任何一家公司都困难。我们和你可以在沙山路上和其他地方能想到的 VC 都聊了,每个人都说不行。有些人引用 Varsity Books 公司的例子,它刚好在是泡沫破灭时候的一个创业公司,消耗大量的资本结果却不怎么样。一些人说这样的试验在校园书店已经失败了,如果那些对学生而言实力最强并且最有影响力的人都搞不成,一个创业公司怎么能完成这个挑战性的任务?

But Osman and Aayush believed that the conventional wisdom was wrong. They saw that students were spending more and more of their time online with social networks and were buying more of their books online rather than through campus bookstores. They also saw that there was an education bubble forming, and the costs of higher learning were outpacing the overall costs of other goods and services in the economy, creating increasing incentives for students to find new ways to save money. They recognized that Netflix had recently proven that people were willing to rent their media through the Internet. Finally, they saw that college bookstores were operating with an extraordinarily profitable but inefficient model for selling new and used books, which offered a very attractive pricing umbrella to attack.

    但是,Osman 和 Aayush 认为,传统的智慧是错误的。他们看到,学生们在社交网络上花费越来越多的时间,并且相比于校园书店,他们越来越多的从网上买书。他们还看到教育的泡沫形成,获得更高教育的的费用超过了经济中其他商品和服务的总成本,学生有动力寻找新的方法来省钱。他们认为,Netflix 最近证明了,人们愿意通过互联网租用他们的媒体。最后,他们看到大学书店销售新书和旧书的运营模式极度有利可图而又效率低下,这导致它们的价格保护伞非常容易攻击。

    Chegg’ s business results kept improving despite their difficulty raising money. Finally in the Summer of 2008, Chegg got its lucky break and both Kleiner Perkins, and Foundation Capital decided to invest. The money came in when we had less than a week’ s worth of cash remaining. Suddenly Chegg had a sizeable war chest to grow the business. Chegg ultimately went public in 2013.

    尽管融资困难,Chegg 的业务持续进步。终于在 2008年 夏天,Chegg 得到了它的幸运符,KPCB 和 Foundation Capital 都决定投资。这些钱进来的时候,我们账上还有不到一个星期的剩余现金。突然,Chegg 有了一笔相当大的战争基金来发展业务。 Chegg 最终在 2013年 上市。

    4. Finding Your Secret (发现你的秘密)

    When you internalize that most people all around us are driven reflexively by mimetic instincts, it can be a profound epiphany. It shines a light on things surrounding us that most people never notice; things that maybe even you were not awake to observing. Suddenly, it helps you see that secrets are everywhere?—?it’ s just that most people are too busy focusing on winning by someone else’ s rules to truly look. It also helps you realize that when you discover a secret, most people are not going to give you very much encouragement. If your goal is to create something truly legendary?—?don’ t let the rejection of a lot of people or a lot of VCs discourage you. It turns out that a fair amount of skepticism can be a good sign. If too many agree with you, you might discover that you are a conventional team with a conventional idea led by conventional investors.

    当你本能的意识到,我们身边的大多数人都是条件反射般的被模仿本能驱动,这可是一个深刻的顿悟。它会照亮我们身边大多数人不会注意到的东西,甚至你不清醒的话也观察不到。突然,它可以帮助你看到秘密无处不在 -大多数人都太忙,专注于按别人的规则去赢,而不能仔细观察。它还可以帮助你认识到,当你发现一个秘密,大多数人都不会给你很多鼓励。如果你的目标是创造出真正的传奇 - 不要让很多人的排斥或者很多 VC 劝阻你。事实证明,相当数量的怀疑可能是一个好兆头。如果有太多的人同意你的看法,你可能会发现你是一个传统的团队,拥有传统投资人认同的传统的商业想法。

    Another thing to consider: Unique insights in technology come from cutting edge founders working on new technologies that are not yet widely understood. As an analogy, suppose the entire world speaks in the language of Cartesian Coordinates, but you are one of the first people in the whole world to learn about Polar Coordinates. In fact, you may be so unencumbered by the traditional model that you know Polar way better than you know Cartesian. You can almost always win if the world is about to “go Polar” because you do not have to translate your old thinking into a new way of thinking. Bill Gates did not have to unlearn that computer hardware was “expensive” because he never learned it in the first place. He came of age on the personal computer at a time when the industry revolved around mainframes. He was ideally suited to see that in a world of “free” compute power, the software would become the scarce and valuable resource.

    另一件要考虑的事情:独特的技术洞见来自最前沿的创始人,他们所从事的新技术并不被广泛理解。打个比方,假设整个世界都在用直角坐标的语言说话,但你是全世界第一个学习极坐标的人。事实上,旧的模型对你毫无障碍,你对极坐标的了解远胜过你对直角坐标的了解。如果世界走向极坐标,你肯定会赢,因为你无需把你的旧思维转化为一种新的思维方式。比尔·盖茨不需要忘掉计算机硬件是 “贵” 的,因为他从来没有去了解它。当业界还围绕大型机的时候,他已经进入了个人计算机时代。他恰如其时地看到,在拥有 “自由” 计算能力的世界中,软件将成为稀缺和宝贵的资源。

    As a VC, I am thrilled that most investors use conventional pattern matching. How else would I have a chance to compete? And this same miracle of circumstance is even more true of the opportunity to be a startup founder. Not many entrepreneurs are willing to be unconventional enough to achieve a legendary breakthrough. But that doesn’ t mean you can’ t be one of the rare few.

    作为一个 VC,我很高兴,大多数投资者使用传统的模式匹配。不然,我哪里还有机会去竞争?对于创业者而言,其所处的环境更是如此。没有多少创业者愿意标新立异,实现传奇性的突破。但是,这并不意味着你不能成为极少数人之一。

    Some of you might be thinking “Hey wait a minute. Haven’ t some legendary startups not had a big secret or a non-consensus view?” The answer is yes, and perhaps that’ s for a different post in the future. But it’ s far rarer than most think. In the meantime, most founders will discover that the huge breakthroughs almost always happen from a fundamental insight that is destined to be true but is not accepted by most.

    有些人可能会想 “嘿,等一下。难道非得所有的传奇公司都拥有一个大秘密或非共识的看法吗?“ 答案是不一定。未来我会写另一篇文章来解释。但这种情况及其罕见。在此期间,大多数的创始人会发现巨大的突破几乎总是来自一个根本性的洞见,这个洞见注定是正确的,但是大多数人不接受它。

    May you find your secret, while the rest of the world plays someone else’ s game.


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