“Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas. A human being is a part of the whole called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

— Albert Einstein

There are several ways to build a succesful company. You could try to get an idea of what people would want by doing market research. Or you can build something you really need yourself. Or you can build something your friends a begging you to build, because they say they need it. Or you can copy/paste an idea from someone else and improve and update it. You can also let a thousand flowers bloom and just build what you can build and see what happens when you launch it.

Apple doesn’t do market research, or so they say. Steve Jobs claims that customers have no idea what they want so there is no point in asking them. It works for them.

When Jeff Hawkins was developing the first PalmPilot he walked around with a wooden prototype in his back pocket. When people came up to him to propose extra features he would take out the wooden prototype and act as if it was already working. He just wanted one and decided to build it. It worked for them.

Chad Hurley and Steve Chen built YouTube because they needed an easier way to share videos with their friends. It worked, their friends loved it, and then the rest of the world discovered YouTube. It worked for them.

Google wasn’t the first search engine and it also wasn’t the first search engine to use hyperlinks to index pages. It also wasn’t the first company to sell links next to search results. The Google founders knew the market and their competitors and they innovated themselves to world domination. It worked for them.

You can skip every entrepreneurial guidance post ever written and every piece of advice ever given. You don’t have to read any of the management books out there. There are no rules for becoming a successful entrepreneur. No set guidelines.

You’re already locked up in the prison of your own ideas. Don’t get locked in the prison of everybody else’s ideas too.