The End of Passion

enoughpassion(Business Lounge Journal – Special Report)

[alert type=white ]”When you first start out, it’s like having one ‘warung’ you know and you’re the one cooking, you’re the one promoting with ‘warung’, you’re the one serving to your guest. But when you have two stores, you start to manage someone that can do what you’re doing before and then three stores and then four stores and then after a while you stop being a cook. You know you just kind of managing people.”
– Anton Wirjono, Founder of Goods Dept[/alert]

 

Passion \ˈpa-shən\
a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

 

Welcome to the (almost) end of 2015, where in the world of young Indonesian entrepreneurs, the word “passion” is still the magic key. Along these three years and more, wherever you go, wherever you went, things like “passion”, “branding”, “creative” and “entrepreneurship”, “collaboration” were…everywhere. First you saw it on the youngsters. Those who pride themselves as “Passionate Creativepreneur” were all about designing, creating, and for some who joins the rank, comes after hacking themselves free from the cycle of 9 to 5 job. Which I admire greatly.

I recall those days clearly, when the fire of passion burn so great, you felt nigh invincible. Still fresh, the protests from two previous generations. How could they not ? Harvard Business Review on October 2014 mentioned that the Y generation found settling in on one job was increasingly difficult. A typical Y generation could have 35 different kind of jobs by the end he reached 30. Career Path is Baby Boomer’s thing, and for some of the Y generation, it’s not suitable anymore.

The gen Y quickly become a professionals with multi-functional skills and irregular career paths, operating as self-entrepreneurs within scarcely-institutionalized economies, described by the economist Lange in 2006 as “Culturepreneur”. But when happiness become a goal, money and stability become obsolete. The struggle, the rebellion, and for quite some time, the ignorance. And in the end, some win, some not. But one thing for sure, the “Business of Passion” endures and accepted.

…and spread like wildfire.

Seasoned businessmen, firms and institution were quick to react to the latest trend. There’s this office that I walk past by every morning. The firm in that office was all about offering leadership training when suddenly, they put a giant banner encouraging youngsters to join their entrepreneurship talk. Quite pricey too. Universities and High Schools were competing in “who’s- the- first- to- put- on- a- giant- billboard- with- the- word- ‘Entrepreneur’- in- it”. Private Banks, who’s been extremely stingy in the past regarding giving a loan to start-ups, were suddenly all-generous.

[alert type=white ]Seasoned businessmen, firms and institution were quick to react to the latest trend. There’s this office that I walk past by every morning. The firm in that office was all about offering leadership training when suddenly, they put a giant banner encouraging youngsters to join their entrepreneurship talk. Quite pricey too. Universities and High Schools were competing in “who’s- the- first- to- put- on- a- giant- billboard- with- the- word- ‘Entrepreneur’- in- it”. Private Banks, who’s been extremely stingy in the past regarding giving a loan to start-ups, were suddenly all-generous.[/alert]

yadda

 

All aboard the hype train !

Yay ?

Well, it’s time to look at what the future stores for creativepreneurs. But beware, what’s to come might sound a bit unpleasant for you who’s still in a high dose of passion.

1. (The future) Heavy competition will decrease your room for passion.

Picture you have a shoe brand. Now picture it become big. Big as Adidas or Nike. Now picture there are two other brand who starts with you from the beginning. One is also a shoe brand, while the other is a leather goods brand. You three become close friends back then. Probably trading trade secrets with each other along the years. Make a collaboration projects. Have a beer together. Dreaming of growing big together.

It’s all good and fun, until the three of you become big, and the leather goods guy also decides to open a new line for leather shoes, thus potentially endangering your current market. Because you know that he’s good. And up to that point, you discover the beauty of market competition. And suddenly, you have to understand THIS :

 

The End of Passion - Great BoreBehold. the GREAT BORE has taken a form as even GREATER BORING form.

Looks unpleasant ? I bet. But that’s the condition those “cool” athletic sneaker these days. You are maybe wearing one right now. Yeezy Boost ? Go Kanye ! Anyway, this graph shows the condition called, “The Oligopoly Market Competition”. And it’s happening right now. Here’s an example, The Athletic Footwear case.

Quick overview : The brand was established by the Dassler brothers, Adolf Dassler and Rudolf Dassler in 1920. The brothers successfully developing the brand and gaining worldwide popularity. But later on, internal conflict and misunderstanding during the Second World War split the company into two separate companies who fiercely compete with each other, the famous Adidas (owned by Adolf) and Puma (owned by Rudolf).

The Dassler brothers developed a marketing model that “locked up” athletes and athletic events, a strategy widely emulated today in sponsorships by companies related and unrelated to sports. The Dasslers focused on establishing a connection to star athletes, sports associations and international sports events, like World Cup and Olympics. The association creates ripple effect, stimulating sales to sports enthusiasts and eventually the mass market. Famous as the Dassler’s “Super-Oligopoly”, it emulates real-life Oligopoly competition, where multiple firms compete, and nothing if not diverse. Some sell identical products, while other differentiate. And in this case, Adidas is fighting against Puma. Identical at best, but different in some designs, because after all, they developed it together back then.

The Athletic Footwear Case taught us the reality, that when it comes to business competition, brother could turns against brother.

The End of Passion - DasslersWe make a dramatized version of the Dasslers feud. With knights. Because knight is cool. And very Germany.

Not so fun again, wasn’t it ? Well, Unless you’re aiming to stay in the small-market segment, than you can forget all I said about Oligopoly. But if getting big is your aim, than know, that heavy and fierce competition is your future. Suffice to say, Survival of the Fittest is your future. You might still like what you do, but not as big as it is back then. Just remember it the next time you buy that cool Yeezy Boost, there’s a fierce graphic, analysis, projections, and what’s left of the Dassler brothers brotherly feud behind it.

But wait ! There are more !

[alert type=white ]But if getting big is your aim, than know, that heavy and fierce competition is your future. Suffice to say, Survival of the Fittest is your future. You might still like what you do, but not as big as it is back then.[/alert]

2. Your idea is ready to become obsolete, copied, or stolen

Obsolescence also known as the case of “I thought of that a month ago !”. As competition grows, it’s going to get harder to compete with the same “entrepreneurial innocence” that we’re so full of years aback when you want nothing but to make your idea come true and your life means something. Take an example of any Developed nations or continent. Europe for example. When you thought of something, chances are, others already start making it. Cool specialty coffee shop ? Cool apps ? Cool sneakers ? Cool jeans ? Sheeesh. Tell me something I didn’t know.

Copied ideas also known as the “He/She took my idea” case. Which includes a great RAGE and abundant swear words. Don’t expect that once you go even slightly bigger, slightly noticed, and slightly recognized, people wouldn’t start copying whatever you’re making.

But who start it first ? Who copied who ? Who cares. Because in the end, who survives ? who’s more famous ? Who sells more ? Who gets IPO first ? Yahoo has been full hipster and doing internet search engine thingies before Google makes it cool, but have you ever hears the word Yahooing ?

[alert type=white ]But who start it first ? Who copied who ? Who cares. Because in the end, who survives ? [/alert]

The End of Passion - Bummer

Bummer.

Stolen also known as uh…uhm. Eh. Stolen is only known as tragic. Remember the good ol’ days when you can tell your ideas to everyone and maybe hope for a positive feedback, and the look of their excited eyes, oh, their mesmerized eyes. Makes you felt something isn’t it ? Something good, like you already had them. And then…one of them stole your idea. Don’t think it couldn’t happen ! Did you expect your competitor will let you finish your school or get approached by angel investor before him ? Hell, no.

3. “Stronger together” means “When I’m stronger first”

Well, just look at the Dassler brothers up there. UNLESS you’re both selling entirely different/complimentary product, know that the future is not going to be as pretty as today. Because, “why should he/she sell more than me ?” kind of attitude will start to show up once the competitors is plenty.

4. Unique no more.

Yup. You might be unique today. But what about tomorrow ? What about 5 minutes later ? You might be the first movers, but you are not the last. Younger and more talented people (and sometimes 2nd generation with strong financial backup) will surely take your place if you’re not cautious. Why do the student surpass the master ? It’s because the master refuse to learn a new kung-fu trick, that’s why.

One specialty coffee shop. Two specialty coffee shop. Three specialty coffee shop. And suddenly, ten specialty coffee shop, and a hundred. Now you will compete for survival. And that is how, the Red Ocean started. In the Red Ocean, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here, companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of existing demand. Here, shark eat shark. And if you’re a guppy, you’re going bye-bye.

The End of Passion - sharkPoor misunderstood shark. He just want to survive the market competition.
(Photo credit to www.abc.net.au)

Beside, when everyone is creativepreneur/culturepreneur, become one will not be unique anymore, just saying. But that statement is only effective if your ego is concerned.

5. Perfection takes too much from you.

Some people cannot tell the difference between passionate and perfectionism. It’s very different but could be quite challenging to tell them apart, sometimes. Perfectionist is a person with high standard who refused anything that is short of perfection. In some cases, they work slowly. According to American Psychological Association, perfectionism correlates with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health problems, with some who’s maladaptive will experience more stress than the adaptive one. I’ve met some VERY creative and passionate artists, who turns out TOO perfectionist for their own good. Being perfectionist takes your time, money, energy, and mood.

In my case, it takes one to know one.

It is okay to aim for perfection when the resources, time, and demand allow you to do so. But once the competition is rife, you will find yourself simply have no time for counting how many stitches hole in each of your product.

[alert type=white ]It is okay to aim for perfection when the resources, time, and demand allow you to do so[/alert]

6. You will end up managing people

I admit, for you who quits 9 to 5 cubicle job to become an entrepreneur. You are remarkable, indeed. I have nothing but utmost respect for those who refused to be a corporate stooges, and set sail for the dangerous ocean out there. But let’s quote the man who has become an inspiration for youngsters these days, owner of Goods Dept, Mr. Anton Wirjono, when i asked him about what it means to run a business.

“When you first start out, it’s like having one ‘warung’ you know and you’re the one cooking, you’re the one promoting with ‘warung’, you’re the one serving to your guest. But when you have two stores, you start to manage someone that can do what you’re doing before and then three stores and then four stores and then after a while you stop being a cook. you know you just kind of managing people.

– Anton Wirjono, Founder of Goods Dept

Believe him. Because he is right. When you found yourself getting bigger, suddenly you’ll found yourself at 3AM in the morning, doing your business taxes, chugging 6 cups of coffee. Then, you’ll know that he is right. At the end of the day, those who survived will not be stooges anymore, but will end up managing their very own stooges.

7.Tax is not fun.

Oh, definitely not. I don’t think I should say more about this, either. The word says it all.

OKAY, OKAY. Chin up. Don’t get gloomy. On the second part, I’ll tell you what is the nature of passion, and how to keep your entrepreneurship spirit alive.

Michael Judah Sumbayak adalah pengajar di Vibiz LearningCenter (VbLC) untuk entrepreneurship dan branding. Seorang penggemar jas dan kopi hitam. Follow instagram nya di @michaeljudahsumbek

References

– Waber, B., Magnolfi, J., & Lindsay, G. (2014, October). Workspaces That Move People. Harvard Business Review , 70-77.

– Lange, B. (2006). From Cool Britannia to Generation Berlin? Geographies of Culturepreneurs and their Creative Milieus in Berlin. (C. Eisenberg, R. Gerlach, & C. Handke, Eds.) Cultural Industries: The British Experience in International Perspective , 145-172.

– Tae-Soo, Jung. (2013, September 2). Athletic Footwear Warfare: Surviving in an Oligopoly. Samsung Economic Research Institute ,1-5.

– H.C. White, “Where Do Markets Come From?”. American Journal of Sociology, 87 (1981): 517–547.

– Porac and J.A. Rosa, “Rivalry, Industry Models, and the Cognitive Embeddedness of the Comparable Firm. Advances in Strategic Management, 13 (1996): 363–388.

– Chan Kim, W.,& Mauborgne, Renée. (2005, Spring). Blue Ocean Strategy: From Theory To Practice. California Management Review. 105-121.

– Benson, Etienne. (2003, November). The Many Faces of Perfectionism. Monitor on Psychology, 18.

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