After waiting an hour and a half in line for the Google I/O Keynote speech I managed to find a seat. I took a big bite out of the breakfast muffin I picked up on my way in when I noticed a man pointing at the empty seat next to me. My face light up and I smiled and nodded answering his implicit question. We exchanged pleasantries and he introduced himself as John Absmeier, Director of Delphi labs.
If you haven’t heard of Delphi, you will now. Delphi is an automotive supplier that builds safer, greener, and more connected automotive technology. You may have heard about the self-driving car that successfully drove from San Francisco to New York. That was Delphi, not Google, or Mercedes, nor even Tesla! We spoke in depth about the fears individuals had with self-driving cars.
“You have to understand that when Apple was set to release the first smart-phone, people were not too keen on the idea. They asked why do we even need it?” John said. The iPhone revolutionized the world. It changed how we communicated with each other, how we worked, and how we viewed our own lives. Now we can’t imagine a world without our smartphone. The entire Google Keynote rested on the theme of a mobile world. He was right, most people can’t visual the need or necessity of a new technology without it existing first.
Thus, entrepreneurs are the rare birds that can visualize a new world and help bring their ideas from their inner world to the real world. However, the response most entrepreneurs hear is a two-letter word, “No.” The word itself creates dismay and can oftentimes destroy the spirit within. However, John was correct in saying that just because someone says no, it does not mean you should just stop the car. You are on to something; a good leader takes the critique and keeps improving their product until you hear the golden words, “Yes.”
Let’s use self-driving cars as an example, most people have initial fears with self-driving cars, but John takes those fears seriously and works to improve the process and design of his product to qualm any negative association with his work. Keep going until those no’s became yeses. If one can see the world John imagines and endeavors toward you would be just as excited as he was. No more drunk drivers taking innocent lives. Less traffic and more time spent on leisure. Older folk and disabled individuals reacquiring the freedom of the open road, no longer held to whim of their bodies. Less accidents on the road caused by sleep deprived individuals. A safer, efficient, and happier world.
People are always going to say no, if you are truly up to the task you can push past those obstacles and lead the world with your new creations. This is how success is accomplished, and how full grown companies such as Delphi continue to innovate and push towards a better tomorrow, despite the negative setbacks. Continue with your idea, even if the road ahead is tough. No does not mean stop.