Several months ago, I was invited to an entrepreneurship program at my graduate school to be a mentor. We had a panel discussion, I was one of the mentors sat on the stage and answering students’ questions. One student entrepreneur asked, “I have some students coming to our team, but my project has not been funded yet, how do I encourage them to work hard with no payment?” Every mentor shared their ideas, like set a vision, build a role model, inspire them with some success stories, and so on. I was the last one answered, and I said, all those answers you just heard were a nice way to say it; but now I am going to tell you the truth, the truth is, brainwash them. Yes, that is right, brainwash them. Draw a big picture to them, tell them you guys are changing the world, and you guys are going to beat Google or Amazon, or Facebook. Let them believe the small number of equities they will receive is going to make them billionaires. Everyone laughed, everyone thought I was joking. No, I was not. Actually, that is how many other successful entrepreneurs had done or doing. And I think brainwashing can be a good way as well. Why? Let me explain.
According to Wikipedia, brainwashing is to reduce its subject’s ability to think critically or independently, to allow the introduction of new thoughts and ideas into the subject’s mind, as well as to change his or her attitudes, values, and beliefs. By default, brainwashing is a derogatory term. But in reality, not just those dictators were using brainwashing technique, many successful entrepreneurs also have been using such a method to sell his/her vision to others.
1. The entrepreneur needs to brainwash himself/herself first
Some people brainwash others to work hard or to believe in his/her vision, while himself/herself does not really believe in it. Then he/she is a liar and that is a bad way of brainwashing. Some priests were trying to persuade followers to believe in God while himself do not really believe in it; then he is a sinner. A good entrepreneur at first, he/she need to brainwash himself/herself. Of course, the road towards a new business is tough, of course, there are still many challenges and many uncertainties, and the battle to win in the market is a long way as well. So the entrepreneur really needs to brainwash himself/herself first, only when himself/herself is a strong believer, he/she may be able to conquer all the difficulties ahead, and lead the team finally build a successful business. If the entrepreneur himself/herself is still hesitating, or questioning, or weak in mind, then he/she would not be able to survive his/her startup, some people may even not take the first step out to start. Or sometimes he/she maybe have started the business, but still thinking/keeping a safety net. Such startups can hardly survive. In other word, the entrepreneur got to strongly believe in his/her vision first, and in order to achieve that, he/she will have to brainwash himself/herself somehow.
2. The entrepreneur needs to brainwash his/her partners
A successful startup business needs a good team to work together. So the second challenge is how to get the right talents to join the team. Now it also needs some brainwashing technique to convince them. If one thinks rationally, he/she may not give up his/her current good paid and a stable job to join a dreamer, who wants to change the world with a crazy idea.
Alibaba’s executive vice chairman, Joseph Tsai, helped Alibaba become a huge monster in E-commerce in the world and himself has become the second-largest individual shareholder of Alibaba, right after Jack Ma. When Joseph Tsai first met Jack Ma in 1999 in Hangzhou. Tsai was impressed (brainwashed) with Ma’s idea to create an international import and export marketplace, as well as his charismatic personality. So Tsai quit the $700,000-a-year job at Investor AB and join Ma with a salary of only $600 a year. Tsai’s own personal income before join could have acquired several Alibaba, but he gave up a shining career to join an uncertain grassroots company. He gave up his beautiful view glass curtain wall office in Hong Kong and moved into a dirty small residential 2 bedrooms in Hangzhou. Everyone around him who has a rational mind would have thought Tsai was crazy. Did Jack Ma brainwash him? I think so.
3. The entrepreneur needs to brainwash the investors
Many startups, with a crazy idea, with no income, with just a business plan and a dream, come to investors asking for millions of dollars in exchange for a small amount of equity. Are investors also crazy or they have been brainwashed? People’s mind activities are a form of vibrations, different people may at different wave band. In order to influence an investor, one needs to use a much stronger wave to make the investor start to resonate. When such a resonance effect happened, the investor has been successfully brainwashed and cannot help himself/herself reaching to the pocket and sign a big check to the entrepreneur. Statistics show, even if an investor uses rational, sophisticated trend charts, data, formula and analytic tools to analyze and direct the investment, his/her success rate of an investment may even be lower than just making an investment based on emotional resonate or based on passion.
4. The entrepreneur needs to brainwash the target user group
Actually, many entrepreneurs/companies have always been doing so in order to sell their products/services to consumers. For example, one brainwashing technique they have been using it to keep repeating their marketing messages. Repeating a message or opinion will make people believe it, no matter how stupid it might be. Just take those anti-vaccine groups as an example, when those people heard that vaccines were dangerous, and they heard such messages over and over again for enough times, then they became a believer. Even though the messages were from a total stranger or even an idiot. Even though Christopher Columbus started his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean was already five centuries ago, and space scientist and satellite had shown so many images and evidence, today there are still a certain amount of people believe in the earth is flat. Not to mention, when McDonald keeps telling people its junk food is safe; Coca-Cola keeps delivering its message of refreshing the world in mind, body, and spirit; even though it contains such high sugar amount; Tesla keeps telling people those self-burn cars were not their fault and electronic cars are safe and clean energy, regardless of the pollution it caused to build the batteries and the pollution is may cause to recycle the batteries. However, when the media keep repeating the messages from these entrepreneurs or companies, many customers have been brainwashed and believed in it.
People’s brain is just like a sponge, in order to instill new information, sometimes, no matter those entrepreneurs admit it or not, they have been brainwashing people, in order to clean the audient’s mind and irrigate new information. Of course, the difference is that good entrepreneurs really want to bring benefits to target customers and they also truly believe in it themselves; while some bad entrepreneurs may just want to achieve their own personal wealth, and do not care if the product and service had really benefit people or not. Of course, those bad entrepreneurs may take advantage of it only for a short period of time, in the end, they will lose.
Now it comes to my brainwashing message, “Use Nearal app, build a local professional network.” “Use Nearal app, build a local professional network.” “Use Nearal app, build a local professional network.” I repeated three times, so you guys will keep it in mind, and start to download it from iTunes or Google Play. Do not worry, I am a good entrepreneur, and I truly believe in it, and I am working hard on it, to bring the value to everyone. If you have any suggestions or feedback for Nearal app, please tell me, your satisfaction is our goal.