I read a great Techrunch post just over a week ago.
Semil Shah highlights how the WhatsApp story challenges some of the Valley’s conventional wisdom e.g.:
- Yahoo doesn’t have talent
- The best founders are young
- Mobile products should be beautiful/delightful
- Personal branding is important
- Don’t worry about making money. Grow big
Now, you can argue that there are many more cases supporting that specific set of conventional wisdoms, or that there are many more conventional wisdoms that weren’t challenged by the acquisition.
That’s not really the point.
In my mind, the value of the article is it reminding us that, while it’s important to be well read on modern practice for growing a business of value, actually following that modern practice isn’t a prerequisite for success.
If the key to startup success is being right when everyone else is wrong (A Bill Gurley-ism) then it’s obvious that the winners will all challenge conventional wisdom in one way or another.
So, keep an open mind. Make sure that, rather than measuring yourself by what everyone else is saying is right, you measure yourself by how well your customers feel you solve their problems or address their needs.
Conventional wisdom is transient. This immutable law of business is eternal.