Hunting Elephants

Recent news of the GoDaddy Elephant Hunt (warning graphic video) offers two lessons for startups. The first is obvious, as CEO your personal brand is inescapably linked to your company. The second is perhaps somewhat less obvious in the cloud of outrage… YOU SHOULD BE HUNTING ELEPHANTS.

Allow me to explain:

1. No one will care if you go on a mosquito hunt. If your startup is pursuing a tiny market, no one will notice, no one will invest, and no one will join the hunt.

2. The elephant hunt will feed a village. Even if your startup is successful, if the market is minuscule you have failed.

3. An elephant is easier to see than a mosquito. Finding customers for your startup is half the battle.

4. Elephant hunts are more dangerous. There is nothing quite like the thrill of competing in a dynamic market.

5. You will love telling the story about the elephant stampede through camp. Even if you don’t end up revolutionizing a market, you’ll learn an industry and build a strong network.

Are you hunting elephants?


In case you missed the point entirely, this post was about markets not mammals. Species and habitats are essential to a healthy planet. Please don’t go around shooting elephants with artillery for sport, there is nothing sportsmanlike about it. Instead consider making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund and become a partner in conservation.