Most People Were Wrong

Most people were wrong,
When they thought there will never be a market for personal computers,
Because no one would ever want one,
When Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak started the personal computer revolution with Apple,
At a time when computers were big clunky machines only used by corporations & universities.
But it turned out to be the start of the PC revolution.

There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. – Steve Ballmer, 2007, USA Today

Most people were wrong,
When they thought there was no chance the iphone was going to get any significant market share,
That it will just be another niche product like Palm PDAs,
But it turned out to be the start of the smartphone revolution and a multi-billion dollar industry.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought the world doesn’t need another search engine,
When Larry Page & Sergey Brin built Google,
The 13th major search engine after Alta-vista, Metacrawler & Yahoo etc,
But it turned out to be the best and last search engine.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought the world doesn’t need another social network,
When Mark Zuckerberg built facebook,
At a time when Socialnet had died, and Friendster & Myspace were struggling to monetize,
But it turned out to be the best & last social network & a huge & still growing cash cow.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought that facebook was foolish to keep the newsfeed feature,
When 1 million facebook users or 10% of facebook’s user base back then threatened to leave facebook if they din’t remove the newsfeed feature because it was an invasion of privacy,
But it turned out that Mark was right that the newsfeed was a crucial tool in helping friends stay connected with each other & one of the major tools that made it better than its competitors like Friendster & Myspace, which all eventually died out.

jack-ma-alibaba

Most people were wrong,
When they thought Jack Ma was foolish to build an internet company in China,
At a time when the majority of China’s population doesn’t even know what the internet is,
But it turns out that it kick-started a series of events that led to the eventual founding of Alibaba, which became listed on Nasdaq through one of the biggest IPO events in history in 2014.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought no one would ever want to use an app that made messages disappear,
But it turns out that enough people found it interesting enough to use it,
And it turned out to be a billion dollar company called Snapchat.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought 2 designers and only 1 technical co-founder was a weak team,
Hence a bad team to fund,
But it turns out that the team was able to build a 20 billion dollar company called airbnb.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought no one would ever want to stay at a stranger’s home,
That it was simply ridiculous to rent out your room to a total stranger,
But it turned out that people had been doing it since forever with friends, relatives & people they could find some kind of common connection with,
It turned out that airbnb wasn’t a bad idea at all, once you’ve ironed out some issues.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought another car company is bound to fail,
Especially an electric car company,
When Elon Musk started Tesla,
At a time when the last successful American car startup was Chrysler, founded 90 years ago,
At a time when big car companies like GM were failing.
But it turned out to be the start of the electric car revolution.

Most people were wrong,
When they thought it was impossible to start a private space transportation company,
And that it was impossible to make rockets reusable & space travel significantly more affordable,
When Elon Musk started SpaceX,
But it turns out that it was possible,
As SpaceX managed to deliver payloads into space at a significantly lower cost than its competitors,
Even if rockets weren’t reusable, simply by innovating on design & technology,
It also recently successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket after delivering a payload into orbit,
Paving the way towards a future of reusable rockets & affordable space flight.
All while already being a profitable company.

Most people can be, and are often wrong about these things.

That’s why most people are not billionaires.
That’s why most people won’t take the risk to build world-changing companies.
That’s why most people are not visionaries.
That’s why most people don’t end up leaving a dent in the universe.

Hence Peter Thiel’s favourite question:
“Tell me something that is right, that most people disagree with you on,
Tell me something that is contrarian, but right.”

However, there is a difference,
Between being contrarian, but right;
And being contrarian, just for the sake of being contrarian,
For getting attention,
For satisfying your own ego or just being ignorantly or baselessly contrarian.

Most people might be wrong,
But they always have a point.

To be contrarian, but right,
One would need to be humble,
And seriously understand, evaluate and consider all the criticisms & points everyone has raised,
And understand if there is something they see that most people don’t see,
Or is it the other way around where there is something most people see that they themselves don’t see,
In which case they would be contrarian, but wrong.

But if you fully understand everything most people say & where they are coming from,
But still see something they don’t see and believe that you are right,
Then there is a chance you might be contrarian, but right.
That is when you might have something called,
Vision.

There is nothing wrong with being most people.
In fact, most of the time, we are most people.

Most people are cool,
Most people are kind,
Most people are smart,
Most people are awesome.

Just that,
Most people also have to see before they believe,
Most people have to experience before they realize,
Most people prefer to follow after someone else has tried.

But every once in a while,
We see something that most people don’t see,
We see something that is true, but most people disagree with,
We realize something that is contrarian, but right.

We suddenly become, unlike most people.

If, and if we do decide that that something we discovered is so important that it is worth pursuing,
That it is worth proving,
Against the collective opinion of most people,
The journey is going to be hard,
So damn hard.

Simply because, right now,
Most people won’t understand,
Most people will think you are a fool,
Most people will mistakenly think you are arrogant,
Most people will mistakenly think you are stubborn,
Most people will think you are wasting your life,
Most people don’t see what you see,
Most people will think you are making a big mistake,
Most people will think you are, well, just wrong.

Simply because that is the nature of being contrarian,
But right.
Hopefully.

But for every instance of being contrarian, but right,
There will be some people,
Some people who will believe,
Some people who will take the risk and try,
Some people who will agree,
Some people who will grow to love it so much,
Some people who will start spreading the word,
Some people who will support you.
Some people, just those some people,
Is enough.

We just got to find those some people.

Slowly,
Some people will become more people,
More people will influence more people,
And there will come a time,
When some people finally becomes most people.

By that time,
Most people then might not be the same most people now,
Most people would realize how obvious it was,
Most people would agree,
Most people cannot imagine it any other way,
Most people won’t be able to understand how people can disagree with something as obvious as that.

So, if you happen to be that some people,
Who is fortunate enough,
Or unfortunate enough,
Depending on how you see it,
To see something that most people don’t see,
Something that is contrarian, but right,
And worth proving,
The choice is up to you.

But if you happen to be, indeed,
Contrarian, but right,
When the time comes that the some people right now become most people in the future,
Your journey in proving it will be another story of a moment a long long time ago when,
Most people were wrong.

– Johnson Khoo

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