We’ve all heard the saying, “Doers do; dreamers dream.” But what does this saying mean? Some dreamers visualize success and do things they believe help them take an idea to a product people want to buy. The late founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, arguably the most influential tech company founder of the 20th century, relayed an interesting story about his origins. He told this origin story to the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association in 1994, just as Silicon Valley started the first dot-com revolution almost a decade before the first iPod hit the market.
Tech Startups Bring Dreamers And Doers Together
When Jobs was 12 and already a high school freshman, he had the chutzpah to call Bill Hewlett directly to ask for spare parts for a project he was working on. Jobs had this idea of a frequency counter that he couldn’t get out of his head. He knew Hewlett-Packard would have the spare parts because he was a tech nerd.
Key Takeaway: Jobs’ advice in the interview was simple: Ask the right people for help.
Tech Creation Needs Teamwork For Success
Silicon Valley in the ’70s was a hotbed for tech business development and tech people, all working from the same dream and doing simple things that combine dreams with doing—and Jobs asked for help. The Santa Clara Valley Historical Society interview with Jobs illustrates how doing simple things like asking for help leads to success. Without dreaming, it’s pretty clear none of us would have moved beyond a Walkman to the iPod.
Key Takeaway: Dreaming for success leads to action that inspires collaboration in the tech industry.
Silicon Valley Or Bust
Before thousands of tech companies dotted the San Jose to San Francisco landscapes, young tech entrepreneurs had ideas about the future that few could understand. This was long before Silicon Valley emerged as a hotspot for tech development. Indeed, while much of California culture worried about serial killers and hitchhiking, a handful of people dreamed about automation, circuit technology and computing. This is crucial to Jobs’ motivation to invent tech gadgets. He was embedded inside a culture that used dreaming as the first step of entrepreneurship.
Before social media and information tech-dominated entrepreneurial thinking, Apple held a stranglehold on developing tech throughout the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and well into the 21st century. It started with the Apple I computer, then evolved into the Macintosh, then the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone. Tech enthusiasts were dreamers looking for ways to make their dreams come true. Historically, we know this because people like Jobs lived in these communities as kids and young adults who willingly shared their stories.
Key Takeaway: Live in places for work that align with your dream. Tech companies that went to Silicon Valley and found success stayed there for years and sometimes decades because of the entrepreneurship culture, one based on tech collaboration for at least part of their profit-making motivation.
Taking Dreams And Making Them A Reality
One of my favorite quotes is from Michael Jordan: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
Achieving success in your technology career, whether in a corporate or entrepreneurial environment, requires dedication, strategic planning and continuous learning. Here are some key action items that I have used in my career to “make it happen”:
• Set clear goals. Define your long-term and short-term career objectives. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals to guide your journey.
• Build a strong foundation. Focus on obtaining a solid education and gaining relevant technical skills. Consider pursuing a degree in a technology-related field and continuously update your knowledge through certifications, workshops and online courses.
• Develop a personal brand. Establish yourself as an expert in your chosen technology domain. LinkedIn is a great platform for this. Share your knowledge through blogging, speaking at conferences or contributing to open-source projects. Building a strong personal brand will open up more opportunities for career advancement.
• Network and collaborate. Connect with professionals in your industry through networking events, online forums and social media. Collaborating with others can lead to new ideas, partnerships and career growth.
• Be adaptable and embrace change. The technology industry evolves rapidly, so be prepared to adapt to new trends and technologies. Embrace change and continuously seek opportunities to learn and stay ahead.
• Seek mentorship and guidance. Find experienced professionals who can offer valuable insights and advice. A mentor can provide guidance, support and help you avoid common pitfalls in your career.
• Be persistent and resilient. Success in the technology industry may not come overnight. Stay persistent, and don’t let failures or setbacks deter you. Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward.
• Stay updated with industry trends. Follow industry publications, attend conferences, and participate in webinars to stay informed about the latest advancements and trends in technology.
Ultimately, it is not a matter of choosing between being a doer or a dreamer but instead finding a balance and leveraging both sets of skills to achieve success. Tech startups have a good chance at success if they know who to ask for help. If you’re on the fence about starting a business, look at your success through the eyes of others who succeeded. Steve Jobs didn’t think about developing his circuits, and he leveraged his knowledge by asking for help to create one of the most successful tech companies in history. His point is to ask for help, but you must ask the right people or risk losing the leverage.