I was watching Dragons Den on RTE last night while following the Tweets about the show and the entrepreneurs who bravely faced the dragons. It struck me later that they deserve to be laughed at.

I don’t mean that they should be laughed at or their ideas ridiculed in a malicious kind of way. But as most entrepreneurs will know, the entrepreneurial road is not an easy one. Indeed for the most part it is more a mountain track than a road, particularly at the beginning.

You will stumble, you will fall, people will laugh. But the important thing here is that you get up again, dust yourself off and keep going. If, however, you do fall and hurt yourself on that mountain track, the ones who laughed will most likely be the ones to rush to your assistance.

If you can’t handle the laughter at your expense how the hell will you be able to handle all the other shit thrown at you on your entrereneurial journey? If you are afraid to take the first step in putting your business idea out there for fear of ridicule and humiliation then stay at home!

The biggest employer in my home town sells water (Yes that’s right, the water you buy, we flush our toilets with). I can just imagine the comments and ‘watery’ puns in the Dragon’s Den had they sought investment years ago.

“I’m not going to pour money into this business to watch it flow away, I’m out”

“It rains in Ireland for 360 days of the year, nobody’s going to buy bottled water, I like you, but you’re a little too wet behind the ears for my liking, I’m out”

“This idea will never float, my money would evaporate, I’m out”

etc etc.

I have no doubt that the idea of selling water to the citizens of a rain sodden country was laughed at and ridiculed. But at the same time everyone hoped that it would work. And it did.

As an entrepreneur, being laughed at is an impetus to prove your detractors wrong and adds that extra incentive to make a go of things in order to have the last laugh yourself.

Bear in mind too that the Dragons or other entrepreneurs don’t always know everything and are more than capable of not seeing the opportunity in something. Remember the oft quoted Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM in 1943 “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

That crazy whacky idea today could be the cats eyes of tomorrow or could form the springboard into another opportunity. At the very least you will learn something from your endeavours, that you can use time and time again.

So this week go off and find an entrepreneur, laugh at them and then offer to help in any way you can.

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3 Replies

  1. That sounds very reasonable. It’s easy to laugh or pick holes but coming up with ideas or helping someone with theirs takes real effort. For every load of ‘crazy’ ideas you’ll find one good one – but even the ideas that seem ridiculous can hit at a need somewhere are could develop into a real business opportunity.
    At times people that appear before the Dragons that have been told how great they are by friends and family and its easy to see they have never been laughed at and had an honest opinion or constructive criticism given which could have been invaluable feedback.

  2. You’re right Sarah, all the ideas do hit at a need somewhere, they were created/invented to meet that need. They can seem ridiculous to someone who doesn’t have that need but could equally be viewed as a Godsend by someone else.

  3. Excellent post Derry. Tony Frattaroli of Sals Pizza (Dragon’s Den contestant) was a speaker at OpenCoffee Limerick last week and would, I’m sure, agree with everything you say. He was an inspiring speaker by the way.

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