How to miss out on billions of dollars

by Randy Gingeleski

3 minutes to read

Two stories of missing out on a billion dollars, and how it doesn't have to happen to you.

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“So there I am, waiting forever for a cab. And I thought - what if I could just hit a button on my phone, a car comes and picks me up? What if you streamline the payment, tip, all that mess? I was really fired up about it. I wrote up this whole business plan when I got home, and I showed it to my buddy. He’s like ‘hey, you might really have something here!’ But I was really busy with work at the time, I just never went further with it than that.”

Last fall I heard that story. When I was more formally involved with the IgetCOMPED / Event Wizler enterprise, we used to have these fancy business dinners in the city with cool mixes of people.

The guy that was telling us about this was a male model who had a side hustle of Brooklyn Airbnb rentals. I guess he was making decent money doing that, but I’ll never forget his Uber story.

If it’s true, both story and time setting, then he came up with Uber in winter 2009. That’s about when the real Uber was founded except his service would’ve started here in New York.

Now Uber is worth somewhere between $6 billion and $17 billion…!

_(Image credit Photobucket)_

I’m inclined to believe it because I have a similar story.

Back in summer 2009, Riley, Jeff, and I essentially were poised to start something very much like Tumblr. It was going to be called CreationPad.

A joke was even made when I put up the DGM website, which is sort of formatted like a “tumblelog”.

CreationPad Troll

Ultimately none of us knew enough (web development, hosting, etc.) to produce it ourselves. We were going to pay some Indian company to make it but decided it was too much of a gamble.

If you look at the record, the real Tumblr was launched in 2007. But none of us had heard of it at the time, and it certainly hadn’t reached prominence yet.

Who knows where “CreationPad” would’ve gone. Tumblr itself was acquired for $1.1 billion. I would find it hard to believe that there aren’t more stories out there like this.

How many billion-dollar ideas would’ve reached market even sooner if someone had followed through with an idea? Taken a big gamble? Cut out TV, video games, and sleep to attack a side project?

How you miss out on billions of dollars, or at least some dollars, seems to be just living in a state of content. Settling.

“I’m really busy with my modeling career right now, that’s going well, why gamble on some car service idea?”

“We’re young kids in school, why learn all this web development stuff and build some web app?”

Because I made that thing happen or I tried really hard to make that thing happen both make a better story than I thought about it.