Let's be clear; There is nothing more irksome than seeing someone describe themselves as "visionary".
A few days ago, a friend and I were having a conversation around the topic of the misunderstood founder. He was reminiscing about entrepreneurs that he had heard about who had bold ideas, but never succeeded. The logical question that followed was, how important was it that there was outside validation for big ideas.
In the year 1946, America was by enlarge still the wild west - it was the mobs which ran towns. While deep in the desert of Nevada, there was a settlement that was established (because of the workers who worked on the Hoover dam), there was a mobster named Bugsy Siegel, who saw it differently. While most saw the town has an outpost where lawlessness prevailed, a mobster (who had access to plenty of resources within the jewish community) saw the vision of an upscale gambling destination, with entertainment and high life. In the middle of what was a desert.
Though he was killed a year later, he had already succeeded in building a hotel and others then followed suit because they had bought into the story by then. The rest, as they say, is history.
Personally, as someone who grew up in the middle east, the story of Dubai is very much like that. Where one person saw nothing but sand dunes and scarcity of water, another saw a thriving business hub, greenery and penguins in shopping malls!
The unique thing about the human species is the gift of imagination.
An an entrepreneur you see something from the future through the corner of your eye, that everyone else is missing. If you are able to convince at the least one more person about it, it is a dream. If you can't, it is a delusion. If you are able to mobilize an entire ecosystem around your grand idea, that gets carried over, it is a vision.
If you haven't watched the TED Talk by Derek Sivers on how to start a Movement, I'd strongly recommend that you do.
In his words, it is the follower that differentiates a visionary from a nutcase.
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