Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
I’m one of the founders of Passbase. As in the case of many other entrepreneurs, we believe that our vision is bold. We aim to create a future that is secure, privacy-centric, and efficient at the same time; We want to help people resolve their personal data control, as well as address the issues of trust that businesses face in relation to customers’ identities.
We know that while the trust-privacy paradox is difficult to resolve, it is at the heart of a secure digital future. We started our journey by helping businesses improve identity verification and compliance through Smart ID Check, Facial Recognition and Database Access.
I believe that as an entrepreneur, you never finish learning. I don’t think I’m an expert; I’m finding things out as we go along. But there are 4 important things that I have learned that I know that all entrepreneurs can be driven with a big vision. Aligning with these will help you when you create your own initiative
1. Know that your environment becomes you
You may never know right away that you are excluded from being an entrepreneur, but usually, there are symptoms. As a kid, I used to be a builder, always piled up Lego blocks. I started my first business at the age of ten, re-selling gum bought in bulk from Costco for profit. After university, I did an internship at Google and worked there for the next 5 years, first in finance and then in the R&D division at GoogleX. That’s where I caught the ‘entrepreneur bug’. I wanted to get on the playground and create something for myself in the real world. And from what I understand, our risk tolerance decreases with age as our responsibilities increase. So, if I want to be immersed, it’s best to hurry. As soon as it worked, I soon met the co-founders of Passbase; We’ve got each other – in the right people, in the right place and at the right time – and we’ve never looked back.
All I know for sure is how I feel because I have exploited the best ways to think from the best minds in the world. The other ‘X’ employees I worked with were brilliant people creating technology that would shape our future. Some of them have already built extensive businesses. My job involves helping them develop market strategies, financial models and investor / client relationships; I learned from them how to turn an insane idea into something that the market highly respects.
In your journey to becoming who you want to be, your environment gives you more shape than you know. I think it’s even more important when you choose an entrepreneurial path. As an entrepreneur, you will soon learn that you are going to be wrong again and again. Igor has no place. So, instead of always trying to be right (which you shouldn’t be), I would say try to be less wrong and keep looking for ways to be better. It will serve well.
Related: 4 Benefits of Finding a Consultant
2. Be prepared to adapt
Many entrepreneurial ventures start out the same way – like night and weekend side projects and with lots of ramen noodles. We did too. When I first met Matthias and Felix, co-founders of Passbase, we were creating a completely different solution – a mobile-first crypto exchange product. Our user base grew rapidly, but as we scaled we found that we encountered two specific issues that no one was able to help us with. We need to be able to identify users to ensure a high level of compliance. And, we need to be able to easily and securely ‘use’ that identity information across our networks. The more we looked at the identity issue, the more we realized how big, exciting and important it actually was. We’ve seen a future that we can help create: a seamless consumer-oriented experience that enables everyone to prove who they are, backed by relevant, tokenized information, to any company, without spreading their personal data.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs are worried about their ‘big idea’. They do not predict a pivot. To me, the actual litmus test is not so much about the best idea as it is about a team interested in solving complex problems well. Accordingly, I see my primary responsibility to bring in the right people and help them expand themselves and their skill sets. As an entrepreneur, being married to your first idea can help you create something that you think is great, but does not necessarily offer market value. Often, one big idea inspires another and then another. Always look for more problems to solve and more input from an intelligent team – this is the real process. This is what I encourage you to prepare.
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3. Focus on helping others (even if it’s from the sidelines)
In our current capacity, we are equipping businesses with tools that facilitate a great relationship between products, engineering and compliance. But that means we are ‘annoyed’ people, helping from the sidelines.
If, on your entrepreneurial journey, you are immediately imagining a glamorous future where you will always be at the front and center, know that this is not the way to go. If you’re something like us, you’ll be able to – empower your clients from the shadows. Your work will allow your clients / partners to accelerate what they do. And as your space evolves and becomes more mainstream, there will be more demand for what you are doing. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people.
Related: Customer service lessons from the world’s most beloved company
4. Be committed to solving a (big) problem, even if you are working little by little
Digital consumer identity has been a problem since the advent of the Internet. We are moving towards a digital world, but much of it is built on trust. And faith is deeply rooted in identity. Ensuring that the right person is on the other side of the web interface is a deeply complex issue and it continues to change. On the one hand, there is a huge gap between each individual and their digital soul. And on the other hand, the more businesses know their customers, the more they can trust and serve them. We know that a privacy-driven-yet-for-business-non-stop-future will not be created immediately. But it is a problem that deserves to be solved and that forms the basis of what we do.
Resilience and evolution are central to the entrepreneurial career path. So, I would encourage the athlete to adopt the mentality as we have tried. Love your sport, for it. Your desired result may not be instantaneous, but in the end, you will win.