Entrepreneur and investor Peter Diamandis writes in his book Bold
that we all have a line of credibility in our minds. When we hear a new idea, we automatically place it above or below this threshold.
If an idea is above this line, we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. We’ll follow it over time, assigning further judgements along the way.
But if it falls below, we’re likely to “dismiss it immediately, often as ridiculous.”
Diamandis points out that we also have a line of super-credibility. At this level, we immediately accept the idea as fact and think: Wow, that’s great! How can I get involved?
To make the launch of your next business or project super-credible, he recommends three steps:
1. Familiarity matters. The best people to help you with your next project are those who helped you with your last one, or have watched you succeed in the past. If you don’t have a track record, start making one.
2. Trust matters. Diamandis suggests slowing down and building credibility. Don’t mistake a little initial traction for inevitable success. Real traction requires a lot of trust: “Investors love ideas, but they fund execution.”
3. Messaging matters. Who presents your idea may matter even more than the quality of the idea itself. Find the most authoritative and credible person possible to position your business or project – even if that’s not you.
Diamandis himself aimed for the line of super-credibility when he launched the Ansari XPRIZE
: a $10 million dollar incentive competition to put the first privately-developed vehicle into space.
Initially, Diamandis didn’t have $10 million dollars to fund the prize, or even a team. But he did have a network of high-profile contacts in the space industry, based on his years of organizing space conferences, promoting space travel through foundations, and going to graduate school.
When Diamandis finally announced the Ansari XPRIZE, he surrounded himself with some of the most credible and influential people in the industry: Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of Charles Lindbergh, the first person to make a solo transatlantic flight across the Atlantic Ocean; 20 astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon; and Dan Goldin, the Administrator of NASA at the time.
Without their support, Diamandis acknowledges that the project would have been ignored.