Why People Go Into Business and Why Business is about Innovation Rather Than Invention

Let’s think of the richest people in the world today.

Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg (to name a few). None of these men went into business with the sole intention of making money. They work because they have to.

Bill Gates had to create Microsoft. He had the ideas and he knew how to do it. Getting rich was just a by-product of his work.

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook as an online tool which would help university students to connect with each other. He never imagined that this tool would end up as a platform used by over 1 billion people, or roughly 1/7th of the world’s population and his business would be worth over $1 trillion as of 2016.

Richard Branson was a poor student growing up so you could argue that he went into business to make money but it was not his sole intention. You could say making money was a mere 10% of his motivation. Once he made quite a bit of money it was probably a continual driving force to keep going but humans are not motivated just by money. Getting rich is normally a by-product or a happy coincidence.

Richard Branson especially has used opportunities to turn things which people were already doing into better versions. Virgin Records was not the first record company when it was founded in 1973, but instead, it was created to bring alternative music into the mainstream with the likes of The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones.

Later on, Virgin would be responsible for artists such as Phil Collins, The Spice Girls, David Bowie, Daft Punk and Katy Perry. Not bad for a company that was essentially started out of a flat in London. Branson also invented Virgin Airlines and Virgin Trains. Not particularly innovative businesses.

Aeroplanes have been flying since the early 1900s and Virgin Airlines wasn’t around until the 1980s.

Trains have been around since the early 1800s and Virgin Trains wasn’t started until 1997.

Branson noticed something that was big business and decided to make it better. He wasn’t happy with the luxuriousness or quality on flights or the sort of service he was getting on public transport so he decided to make better versions of both.

He wanted to create travel in his own image.

That’s innovation.

Successful people are, first and foremost, human beings

Wealthy people all have something in common: they are human and they enjoy helping other people.

Successful people all try and give something back

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates donate millions of dollars every year to the poorest people on the planet, using a large portion of their incomes for helping out charities and people in need.

Most successful businessmen are not selfish and tight-fisted but instead altruistic.

They are not driven by money.

Humans have an innate need to survive, which does involve generating cash, but more than that we have a desire to create something and be helpful to others.

Barring Warren Buffett, all of these wealthy leaders have the same thing in common: they’ve all created something that helps people or brings joy to other people’s lives.

Innovation is more important than invention

Most things have now been invented. At least the bare bones have already been made.

We have the wheel, we have aeroplanes and we have computers.

The future is about innovating what’s already out there and improving people’s lives and making things easier.

Amazon has just started using drones in 2016 which are a way to deliver their goods to people more quickly and efficiently.

Drones are not exactly an invention, they more take what is already around and put it all together to create something new.

Being wealthy and rich is not necessarily always about invention but more innovation: taking something which is already there but doing it better.

Apple essentially did this in the 90s with the iPod. It was a different way of storing music than a CD but they took something which was very popular and selling well the Sony Walkman, and they innovated so much that you could store 10,000 songs on a device.

This innovative behaviour led to the boom of mp3s during the late 90s and 2000s and now we have iTunes and now very few people buy CDs.

Human beings are innately lazy or in other words ‘efficient’

Books are now available on Kindle and we even have audio books. We don’t even have to buy a physical copy of a book anymore or even take the time to read any longer. We can open up an audio book and have a story read to us by somebody, most likely through our Apple headphones.

History remembers the innovators, not the inventors

The telephone is one of the most-used inventions in the world yet barely 5% of the world could tell you the name of its inventor. I’d guess closer to 50+% could name Steve Jobs as the creator of the Apple iPod and iPhone.

Steve Jobs wasn’t an inventor. He simply innovated with technology that was already around.

Great actors are innovators, not inventors

Think of the wealthiest actors in Hollywood.

Johnny Depp earned around $50 million in 2016 alone and has a net worth of $400m. Nobody could have predicted when he was appearing in the film Nightmare on Elm Street that he would one day be worth that sort of money.

Johnny Depp most probably went into acting because he enjoyed it. He wasn’t chasing the dollar note.

Johnny Depp, like all modern actors, is an innovator rather than an inventor. Depp didn’t invent the style of acting. Rather he took things from other people to craft his characters.

Johnny Depp’s most successful movie character is Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Depp admitted his character was based on Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

Depp was not the first actor but he simply did it better than almost everybody else. That’s how he made his fortune.

Money is a tool

Money doesn’t make you happy. It’s purely a tool to gain satisfaction and freedom. Money can provide you with a buffer from the world. It means you can say ‘no’ to more things and it gives you a certain amount of freedom.

With money, you don’t have to do things you don’t want to and you don’t really have to answer to anybody.

Wealthy people don’t need to work another day in their lives, but many, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg are still innovating to this day even though they have already accumulated giant fortunes.

They could rest on their laurels and holiday for the rest of their lives but they choose not to because they are driven by something else.

As the saying goes, if you chase money it will run away from you.

These businessmen did not ever chase money.

Some could say they pogo-sticked their way around catching dollars as they flew way above all the other people running, jogging or crawling their way through life.

Who is Bill Gates?

Bill Gates is the creator and founder of computer software company Microsoft.

What is Bill Gates’ net worth?

Bill Gates has a net worth of $83 billion as of 2016.

Who is Mark Zuckerberg?

Mark Zuckerberg is the creator and founder of Facebook.

What is Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth?

Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is $50 billion as of 2016.

Who is Richard Branson?

Richard Branson is the founder and creator of Virgin.

What is Richard Branson’s net worth?

Richard Branson is worth roughly $5 billion as of 2016.

Who is Johnny Depp?

Johnny Depp is a famous actor from America.

What is Johnny Depp’s net worth?

As of 2016, Johnny Depp is worth $400 million.

Why People Go Into Business and Why Business is about Innovation Rather Than Invention

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