Every year or two psychologists and marketing folks trot out a new word or acronym to explain a business concept that has been around since the dawn of man. By giving an old idea a new name it allows them to write books on the subject and become well paid experts in this “new” field. One of these new acronyms is FOMO, and it’s something that you should generally be scared of.
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out.
“fear of missing out”. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great
In the modern world of “hyper communication” where we’re supposed to always be communicating and interacting with everyone possible there comes a point where we start to do things not because we want to do them, but rather because we are scared of missing an opportunity. People have a zillion Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections not because they have any compunction to actually connect with these people, but because they fear that if they decline an invitation they may later find out that invitation was from someone who became the next Mark Zuckerberg. You do things for the potential, not for the current benefit which is fine to a point, but there is a line where potential ends up having more priority. Instead of focusing on the dollar that can be made today, you become fixated on the million dollars that could, possibly, maybe be gained from a possibility in the future.
As a business person and technologist you will become bombarded with FOMO offers. I get more stupid ideas flung at me than I can even read through and the punch line is always “This could be the next…” Having been around the block a few times I generally roll my eyes, figuratively pat the person on the head, and then walk out the door just as fast as possible
As a person new to the tech world it is easy to get caught up in dreams of being a founding member of a startup unicorn (startups worth over $1 billion), but always make sure you’re looking at the offer with clear thinking. Do the numbers make sense? Do you think the CEO is competent? Do you believe in the product? And finally, Is the offer really better than what you already have going on?
The final question is the one that too many people overlook. I’m asked for money and time on a constant basis, and it’s funny how shocked people are when I simply say that if I wanted to work more, or write a $100K check, that there are much better opportunities out there.
From one geek to another, if the reason you’re doing something is because you’re afraid of missing out you probably shouldn’t be doing it.