Want to a Billionaire? Ignore Everyone

Chris Herd
4 min readJun 15, 2017


Conventional wisdom states that if you want to become a Billionaire you must create a product or service that is tremendously popular or which significantly improves the lives of hundred of thousands/millions of people.

If you believe that you are being discouraged by the first myth of the Startup world.

The truth is the first step requires improving the life of only one person: yourself.

To become a Billionaire you need to stop thinking big and start thinking small. You need to find the things you find useful in your own life, sniff out the problems that can be solved and solve them.
If you can’t solve your own problems what chance do you have of helping other people?

Revolution comes from passion, that can be in your overall mission or the product/service you are trying to create.

Perseverance is the other thing. You must embrace the issues that challenge you and relentlessly banish them. If you don’t have the durability to rage war against problems for 5–10 years the likelihood is that you will lose the battle before you even have the opportunity to win the war.

But if you have those things you are off on your way.

What should you focus on?

Imagine how much better Startups would be if founders focused on solving the biggest problem in their own lives.

If every single person found the bottlenecks in their life and unmercifully pursued the elimination of the source of frustration.

  1. What is the biggest pain point in your life?
  2. What is the thing that frustrates you more than anything else?
  3. What is the thing that would give you more time?
  4. What is the thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
  5. What has frustrated you on multiple occasions?

If founders focused first on solving the problems in their life, the solutions would not be trivial. Focusing on the wrong things is a criticism often levelled at Tech founders and CEO’s.

How many messaging apps do we need?

We can only create of many arbitrary and benign solution to the same problem before it becomes asinine.

The other bonus of ignoring other people and focusing only on the problems you face is that it is hugely scaleable.

If you are facing a problem, and have encountered it on multiple occasions, then the likelihood is that a huge portion of the world’s population is facing the same problem.

The trick is to recognise the nobility of this face. There is no reason that you cannot be the first person to provide the solution to a problem. You have the same power as anyone else to create things that other people can use. Everything you see and touch was made or created by people that were no smarter than you. You can do the same thing. You can change and influence the world in which we live and shape the future if you realise your own opportunity.

How many people have gotten off a flight and wasted an inordinate amount of time waiting for a flight? Say hello to the birth of Uber.

How many people have gone to a city and found the price of hotels to be too expensive? Say hello to the birth of Airbnb.

How many people have tried a local supplier of materials or equipment and found them to be too expensive? Say hello to the birth of Alibaba.

The biggest problems come from solutions to an individuals problems.

The same is true for every walk of life. My brother is an electrician, every day I ask him what his problems are. If you can solve a problem for one tradesman you can solve it for all of them. I try to encourage him to find his problems and improve them.

Most people are too busy to give themselves more time.

Tech doesn’t need to solve less trivial problems, it needs to focus on solving more personal ones. As founders, and investors we need to create and invest in problems that solve our problems and that of others.

To make a difference in the lives of others we need to create a more fulfilling future by developing and improving on what we have already.

The beauty of solving personal problems is that the inspiration is never ending.

It depends upon your ability to observe and understand the world around you and imagine the implication of any new product or service within the context which they will operate.

Personal inspiration can be as simple as witnessing the historical precedent of what is already occurring and developing a solution which is ten times better.

But this is another myth perpetuated by the tech industry and silicone valley in particular.
If you are creating a product which improves your life it doesn’t have to be 10x better than the incumbent product. It simply has to be better for you.

Then over time, as you tweak and improve your solution that milestone of ten times better may be surpassed or it may not. Solving your own problems means that it is almost irrelevant.

The worst case scenario is you learn something about the problems you perceive.

The final implication of working on personal problems is an eradication of waste.

How many of the world smartest engineers whole purpose is to increase the click rates of adds on google and facebook? This drain of talent to the frivolous pursuit of advertising dollars is an epidemic.

The traditional message from people is to pursue big problems.

Mine is to implore you to be selfish: make your own life better, solve the problems that frustrate you and simplify the world in which you love.

Then profit from solving the same problems for other people.

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Chris Herd

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌