I’ve always said that no matter what you do in life, before looking for anyone else to bet on you, always bet on yourself because most people either will not get the value you present to them, or are not interested enough for the long struggle it takes to see it to fruition. It’s not malice, or anything. It’s just human nature.
Today I bumped into a story that further illustrates this point and simultaneously serves to inspire anyone who has doubts about their work because others don’t see it.
Back in the day, two PhD students at Stanford developed a new way to rank the relevance of search results using a keyword sorting algorithm, which they simply called Page-Rank. Those two were Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who went on to launch their search engine, Google and the rest as we say is history. But that is a history that almost did not happen.
Sergey and Page designed the algorithm for their PhD dissertation, and were already working towards completing all the necessary requirements. At the time, they never intended to start a business based on Page-Rank. So being that they were in the heart of Silicon-Valley, they approached several businesses and tech companies in the area, looking to license page rank for a few millions, to be shared with their institution, Stanford. No one bit. They even offered to sell it instead. No one wanted to buy. A lot of excuses were thrown out: there are already too many search engines, Page-Rank doesn’t represent enough of an edge, everyone and their mom is throwing out algorithms, so why is yours worth millions. Meanwhile, campus users loved their search engine and made encouraging use of it.
So after months of shopping around unsuccessfully, the duo abandoned hope of licensing the algorithm to focus on their dissertation, and instead launched the business themselves with the help of a venture capitalist.
That company became Google, and we know how that worked out. Today, they, along with a handful of other companies practically own the commercial part of the Internet. Their algorithm is worth billions. Today, any of those companies that turned them down would be dying to go back in time to fix that error. But it’s too late.
Just goes to show, just because no one sees the value of what you’re doing, doesn’t mean it has no value. Just have the confidence in your vision to take the risks and work things out to fruition.
You never know where you might end up.