If you can’t be good looking, be smart. If you can’t be smart, be tough.
People are swooning over Elon Musk’s recently-revealed Hyperloop transportation system, but breakthroughs of this nature are few and far between. Rockstar, serial entrepreneurs like Elon may be a source of inspiration, but he’s truly one in a million.
Many of the best ideas in startup world are those that don’t get any acclaim. Maybe you’re working one of them. They don’t win awards, but they do a lot of good for a lot of people. And besides, no one knows if the Hyperloop will really work, or ever get built.
Twilio is one of my absolute favorite startups. Twilio allows anyone with a basic understanding of programming to develop apps and services that leverage the telecommunications infrastructure built by wireless providers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, but without the need to hire specialized programmers.
Twilio is not viral. They’re not flashy, and they’re certainly not hip. But they’re spreading like wildfire among developers and software business because they solve a genuine need.
Twilio co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson recently spoke at the unSEXY Conference recently, organized by 500 Startups. The conference was mean to to celebrate the groundbreaking grunts of innovation who are making money even when they’re names are far from household commodities.
Twilio was joined by companies such as SurveyMonkey, Yammer and SendGrid at the unSEXY Conference, whom most people don’t even know exist. But they all make money. They have dozens or hundreds of employees, and they’re making a difference in people’s lives. There’s nothing wrong with running an unsexy company that makes a difference. You still have a story to tell, and you’re making an impact.
So if you can’t be sexy be smart. If you can’t be smart, be tough. Or as Rogaer Allen Wade says, “If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.”
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