Mastering the Prerequisites of Innovative Entrepreneurship: Vision and Passion

2016-02-24-1456345288-2133973-KristopherJones1.pngKristopher B. Jones is a prominent internet entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, and best-selling author. In 2008 Kris wrote a book on Search Engine Optimization that is currently in its third print for Wiley (2008, 2010, 2013) and has sold nearly 100,000 copies. Kris is the founder and former President and CEO of Pepperjam (sold to eBay), managing partner of KBJ Capital (13 companies), and the founder and CEO of and APPEK Mobile Apps.

The grand vision of Walt Disney -- one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of all time -- was simply to make people happy.

Walt further believed that if you can dream it, you can do it. While the priorities and technologies have changed, it was Walt's original vision that led to Disney's greatest innovations. Think about them: from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world's first full-length animation feature (1937), to Tiki Room opening and introducing the first electro-mechanical robots (1963), to modern Disney stores adopting Apple Pay.

Each of these accomplishments and decisions was rooted in the fundamental innovation of Walt and his namesake company. And this innovation ultimately began with the two prerequisites of being innovative: vision and passion.

Having vision is the first step. The easiest way to understand vision is by example. Think about these entrepreneurs and not what they have only done for their companies, but also what they did to positively impact the world.

For instance, early in his career, Steve Jobs had a vision to put a computer in the hands of everyday people. That simple idea became the vision for Apple computers, which today is one of the most valuable companies in the world with a market cap over $500 billion (as of February 2016).

Another one is Mark Zuckerberg, whose vision for Facebook was to simply connect the world. And with a reported 1.4 billion users and counting, Mark's vision led to innovation that ultimately made him one of the most powerful and wealthy entrepreneurs in the world, right along with Amazon's Jeff Bezos and investing guru Warren Buffett. Zuckerberg recently traveled to China and India to meet with Facebook users. While in China, he gave a 45-minute presentation completely in Mandarin. While in India he participated in a town hall meeting that was broadcasted globally via Facebook. According to CNBC, during this meeting, he was asked why he cared so much about India. His answer: "We feel a deep responsibility to service the 130 million Indians who use Facebook, and we care about connecting the 1 billion Indians who do not yet have access to the Internet."

Then, we have the roots of the place you likely found this article - Google.

In the late 1990s, while doctoral students at Stanford, Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched the search engine Google with a vision to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. In turn, Google has become one of the most innovative and profitable companies of the 21st century. It also gave me my current job as founder and CEO of search engine marketing company

Without feeding into my vision, I wouldn't be in my position. From my very first company, an affiliate marketing agency called Pepperjam, which was sold to eBay, to my latest adventures in and APPEK Apps, it all begin with a vision to do things differently. My vision for Pepperjam was not only to build a huge company, but do so in an area that was once looked down upon due to lack of opportunity. Even though I sold the company to eBay, the rebranded eBay Enterprise remains in Wilke-Barre, Pa., and continues to employ over 100 people.

While it's true that all great innovators have a clear vision of what they desire to achieve, the actualization of that vision requires people like you and me to take the vision and make it a reality. For true innovation, we - like all of the above entrepreneurs - must have also have another trait: passion. This is the force that drives people toward solutions that are not achievable in their current mindset.

When you are passionate about solving a problem or making the world a better place,  you will find solutions or die trying. As Sir Richard Branson has said, "There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passion in a way that serves the world and you."

Like vision, passion is a prerequisite to innovation. The more passionate you are about solving a problem or achieving a result, the more likely you will be successful -- whether that's entering a crowded industry with an innovative solution to an old problem, or taking a leap of faith to open a new office in an unfamiliar market because you know they need your product or service.

Remember - vision and passion are the roots of innovation, and innovation is the root of successful entrepreneurship. If any of the entrepreneurs mentioned in this article didn't have these traits, the world would be a completely different place.

This article is an excerpt of a keynote presentation delivered in November 2015 at the Annual Disney Interactive Global Summit in Glendale, Calif.