Do What You Are Great at Rather Than Follow Your Passion?

Interesting commencement speech by Ben Horowitz. When I attended Stanford, I’d regularly listen to the VFTT (View from the Top) speeches of well-known entrepreneurs and executives. I quickly got bored, first, and then upset, second, when these speeches all seemed to be one long slog of follow-your-passion (and everything will work out) talks. “Give me some operational meat,” I’d think to myself. I wanted to hear about real problems and real solutions rather than yet another high-minded speech.

Since then, however, I’ve actually warmed up to the concept of following your passion, as I have seen my student startups struggle when they took something on, outside their tangible realm of experience, because the market opportunity was so luring. Horowitz argues that people should pick up, as business ideas, something they are great about, rather than following their passion. I think this can only work if there is fun in doing or operating things, so what you are great at is something you’ll eventually get passionate about.

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