Aim High and Ride a Giant

Aim High and Ride a Giant

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton

Recently published a chart showing the 12 apps that have more than a billion monthly active users.

Billion MAUs

The authors point out that these apps are clustered into three companies, that timelines are shrinking, and that mobile is driving rapid adoption. Cool! But what does this mean for all the rest of us? I think it means to aim high and ride a giant.

Aim high means lift your sights. We entrepreneurs (and investors in such) of the world believe that wildly optimistic and seemingly impossible things can be achieved. Sometimes the only evidence we need to launch a dream is the knowledge that someone else has done it, too. So if you are developing an app, my question to you is ‘What is your goal?’ Specifically, how many concurrent users will you have? How about a billion. Is this unreasonable? 12 other companies have achieved it, so why can’t you? Sure, reality is hard, and we are more likely to be disappointed then successful—but if you aim for the moon, you’re likely to hit the mountain top; aim for the mountain top and you’re likely to hit the trees; aim for the trees and you’ll probably fall on your face. You’ll probably never hit the mountain top unless you aim at the moon, so aim high.

Ride a giant means to make a gargantuan and growing business a winner because of what you do—and then let them carry you forward into the market. Look at the chart and notice that nine out of the twelve apps were carried into the market on the shoulders of a giant. Office rode Windows. Groups rode Facebook. Chrome and Play rode Android.

How do you find a giant? Try these two questions:

1. Who wins if you succeed?
2. Who gets angry if you succeed?

Here’s what you do with the answers to each question: Partner (ride the giant) with #1. Exit through #2.

So if you aim high and ride a giant, what is possible? A billion monthly active users! Can you achieve it? If you have the soul of an entrepreneur then surely the answer is Yes. Now surround yourself with a team that can help you get there. And come talk with me and the Peak Ventures team for funding.

Agree or disagree?


About Sam Bernards

Repeat entrepreneur, 7 startups since 1999. Raised $200M capital from Walmart Executives for an internal startup, and led the development & execution of an $80B growth strategy. Led the creation of Walmart Express, growing team from 0 to 300 and monthly sales from $0 to $10M. Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt with international experience (Italy & Germany)

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