Last week I read Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (the founders of 37 signals). I highly recommend it.
These guys are incredibly successful. Their company has created Ruby on Rails (an open-source web framework), Basecamp (which has millions of regular users), Highrise, and Campfire. They have one of the most popular blogs on the web and their New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books have generated seven figures in sales.
They started their company in 1999. Over the years, many Venture Capitalists have approached them about investing in their company. They have turned down every single VC. That is, until 2005 when Jeff Bezos (billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon.com) scheduled a meeting with them. They brought him on as an investor so he could be an adviser to the company. To this day, he is their only investor.
According to them, the best advice they have ever received from Bezos was basically:
Don’t focus on the next big thing. Focus on the thing that customers are going to need today and in ten years.
That’s why I love real estate. As an interactive designer, I can try to create the next big app and I can get all “Silicon Valley” and try to flip it for millions of dollars (good luck with that). Unless we evolve into creatures of pure intellect that transcend space and matter, we will always need housing—it is one of the most basic necessities in life.
And it doesn’t hurt that people will pay quite handsomely for it.