Innovation & Insights

Entrepreneurial Obscurity

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Obscurity is good.
  • One of the best assets you have when starting out is that no one knows who you are and no one cares what you’re doing.
  • The smartest entrepreneurs I’m meeting with these days are just building, getting feedback from early users, and then seeing what works and iterating from there.

I came across an interesting article on PSFKquoting Peter Rojas, the co-founder of gdgt.comand the creator of Engadget, Gizmodo, Joystiq, and RCRD LBL (my personal favorite of the bunch), on obscurity. He says:

“Entrepreneurs should leverage the trend of obscurity: Obscurity is good. Seriously. Everyone focuses a lot on trying to blow up overnight and using social media to drive as much attention as possible to whatever you’re doing, but I think one of the best assets you have when starting out is that no one knows who you are and no one cares what you’re doing. This lack of attention gives you the space and time to experiment—and to make mistakes before too many eyes are on you. The smartest entrepreneurs I’m meeting with these days are just building, getting feedback from early users, and then seeing what works and iterating from there. They’re focusing on improving their product and getting it right, and then trying to attract more attention after they’ve figured things out.”

Connecting failure to innovation is not new. But I think Rojas provides a unique twist in pointing out that the freedom to fail is a kind of psychological state that is hard to create when everyone is watching.

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