Every day on the way up to or down from the studio, I see this plate (why do we look down in elevators?).
I got to thinking about the Otis Elevator Company. It isn’t innovative like Apple or Amazon. It doesn’t have a celebrity CEO or a Twitter feed. The branding isn’t clever or interactive. It isn’t green, and you never read about its horizontal market strategy (that could be fun), or its “velocity” (that would be scary). They just keep on keeping on, quietly building most of the elevators in most of the buildings that have them.
Working with entrepreneurs, I meet too many folks that want to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg or hipster kid who invented Tumblr and sold it for Big Bucks. Hey, that’s cool; I’m thumb-typing this (so pardon the errors) on my iPhone, into Tumblr.
But the world needs Otis Elevator-type companies. Someone has to quietly haul us up and down. Heck, Jobs and Zuck probably ride up to their fancy offices looking down at an Otis logo just like the one I see. And for us to have those kind of companies, someone has to start them. And so some folks have to aspire to start the next Otis.
What would be wrong with that? It’s a decent, honorable, and (I assume) profitable thing to do. You could do worse things with your career—far worse. Build a solid business that meets a legitimate need, and work at it faithfully and without any more fanfare than you need to market your products. Be an Otis.