The Road to a $100M Company and Becoming a Polymath



Aug 29, 20233 min read


The Road to a $100M Company and Becoming a Polymath


Building a successful company and becoming a polymath are both challenging endeavors that require a unique approach. In this article, we will explore the common points between these two journeys and provide actionable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals seeking to expand their skill sets.

Market and Product Fit:

When starting a company, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing solely on their product. However, Brian Balfour, in his article "The Road to a $100M Company Doesn’t Start with Product", highlights the importance of understanding the market first. He suggests considering the category of products, identifying the target audience, understanding their problems, and exploring their motivations. By focusing on the market and its needs, entrepreneurs can find the right solution to address the core problems.

Similarly, in the quest to become a polymath, step one involves becoming the best at one specific thing. This specialization lays the foundation for further skill development. By understanding the market and mastering a specific skill, individuals can identify the problems within that field and develop a unique value proposition.

Creative Breakthroughs and Skill Development:

Both entrepreneurship and polymathy require creative breakthroughs. Balfour emphasizes the importance of making atypical combinations of skills to achieve these breakthroughs. Similarly, in the pursuit of becoming a polymath, step two involves becoming very good at two or more skills. By combining these skills in unconventional ways, individuals can unlock new perspectives and innovative solutions.

Furthermore, Balfour suggests that entrepreneurs should iterate and redefine their market and product hypotheses. This iterative process aligns with the idea of becoming competent in a new skill, as outlined in step three of becoming a polymath. The abundance of knowledge and access to experts in various fields allows individuals to continuously expand their skill sets and redefine their areas of expertise.

Pioneering and Future-proofing:

Another similarity between building a $100M company and becoming a polymath is the opportunity for pioneering new fields, industries, or skill sets. Balfour mentions that combining old and new fields is a common way to create something novel. This aligns with step four, where individuals are encouraged to pioneer a new skill set. By embracing the explosion of knowledge and finding unique combinations, individuals can position themselves as industry leaders and future-proof their careers.

Complex Problem-solving and Standing Out:

Both entrepreneurs and polymaths are driven by the desire to solve complex problems. Balfour highlights the importance of strong problem-solving abilities in achieving market product fit. Similarly, step six of becoming a polymath focuses on solving more complex problems. By combining a diverse skill set, individuals can tackle multifaceted challenges and stand out in their respective fields.

In the global economy, standing out is crucial for success. Balfour suggests that entrepreneurs must differentiate themselves to compete effectively. This sentiment resonates with step seven of becoming a polymath, where individuals are advised to escape from the crowd. By leveraging their unique combination of skills, polymaths can offer fresh perspectives and innovative solutions, setting themselves apart from the competition.


Becoming a successful entrepreneur and a polymath requires a strategic approach and a willingness to explore new territories. By focusing on market product fit, combining skills in unconventional ways, continuously learning, and pioneering new fields, individuals can position themselves for success in both realms. To summarize the key takeaways from this article, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

1. Start with the market and understand the problems and motivations of your target audience. This will guide your product development and ensure market product fit.

2. Embrace atypical combinations of skills and continuously expand your knowledge. By making unconventional connections, you can unlock creative breakthroughs and solve complex problems.

3. Differentiate yourself from the crowd by standing out and offering unique perspectives. Pioneer new fields or skill sets to future-proof your career and compete effectively in the global economy.

Remember, the road to a $100M company and becoming a polymath may not be a straight line, but with perseverance and a strategic mindset, success is within reach.


  1. "The Road to a $100M Company Doesn’t Start with Product — Brian Balfour", (Glasp)
  2. "How to Become a Polymath", (Glasp)

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