When serendipity/synchronicity collide to bring 3 related things into a single point of focus, it's time to start this blog off. :)
In no particular order, I ran across Matt McCall's provocative follow-up post on Engineering Crisis or Not and I read in Signal vs. Noise about The venom of put-downs is rocket fuel. And finally, I was in a meeting with Doug Hall (of American Inventor fame) when he smacked us upside the head on a few of our products in the active queue with the specific intent of knocking us down a few pegs lest our ego get in the way (and we prematurely think we've got the product nailed).
And what struck me was the following: success for inventors (or entrepreneurs) is a result of hunger -- of unmitigated passion to make what is envisioned in the mind into a reality. An almost irrational pursuit of proving the naysayers wrong by overcoming their objections! By getting up and saying: I'm not done. By not being able to sleep at night because you're consumed with the vision you have. By taking the feedback and deciding what to listen to, what to reject (they didn't get it because you explained it horribly, so their feedback is bad because you gave them the wrong thing to react to), and so on. Sometimes you overcome the objection by responding to it. Sometimes you overcome it by steamrolling right on over it and showing them they missed the forest in the trees...
I bet if you asked every successful founder, inventor, or CEO what got them to where they are, it's hunger. The coyote in Matt's backyard is hungry. It can't NOT eat. It doesn't have a choice. An inventor can't NOT invent. A successful inventor can't NOT pursue the invention in the face of indifference and ignorance if they've done their homework and know in every fiber of their being that they have something truly important.
Therefore, what I know is true is that only those that get up after getting knocked down succeed. Only those that fight for their vision are the ones that get it. The very best work I've done over the past 20 years has been closely linked to someone telling me I couldn't do it. Sometimes the ones telling me it was impossible were incredibly smart and experienced. Sometimes they were idiots. But you know what? In both cases they stoked a fire in me. They fired me up in a way that no amount of education, social network, or money could ever have done.
Inventing and new product development is all about making known and real what is only imagined and unreal in someone's mind. That is an incredibly hard process. And the only way to get from there to here is passion. And commitment.