Some of the smartest people I know often tell me, “Businesses aren’t going to start growing again until consumer demand comes back.” Really? So we should just sit around and wait until economic growth magically returns?
Growth doesn’t just happen, and it’s not necessarily driven by demand. Growth comes from innovation and from entrepreneurs who create demand. Just look at the iPhone. Apple’s Steve Jobs didn’t create it because there was an insatiable demand for this world-changing device. People didn’t even know what an iPhone was until Apple put it on the market, and now they can’t buy enough of them — and Apple has a nearly $500 billion market capitalization.
How much demand was there for Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg created it? Zero. Most consumers didn’t know what social networking was before their friends started signing up for Facebook.
Examples are everywhere of entrepreneurship and innovation driving demand: the dot-com bubble of the 1990s, for instance, which lifted America out of a recession and ignited one of the country’s great bull runs, producing Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and literally thousands of other businesses. The Internet itself didn’t spring up from consumer demand. Nor did the transistor, the automobile, the airplane — you get the picture.