and my friend Patrick came into my office. Patrick schools in MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) USA and was home for the summer break as he is an Industrial Technologist, and I had known Patrick from the year before.
I have always liked Patrick's business zeal and one day, Patrick came in and said, Zachs, I'm ready to launch a business, can you help me raise some money? I asked, well, what is it Patrick? What's your business? And he said, the name of my business is "Dipole" and it's a new membrane technology I intend to bring in from the USA into Nigeria. Patrick further explained that it will revolutionize the fuel cell industry. What it does is it produces 53% more power than anything out there today. It does this with 100 times less methanol crossover. And by the way, I had patented proprietary technology on this and the patents issued, and I got it. By the way, it costs less, too. There's a new manufacturing technology. So I am ready to go.
I had the opportunity to take a look at Patrick's business plan and I skimmed through it quickly. I said, Patrick, this is really great, and you should be really proud of yourself, but you know what, here at my office we're about helping young entrepreneurs in starting new ventures by helping them access little funds for startups. And to start a new company before you go out and raise money, I think you need to talk to a friend of mine's child.
And he said, well, who's that? And he said, well, it's a friend who's in the business of lemons. And he said lemons? What is it? Synthetic biology? What does he do? Is it some new fuel cell that I don't know about? I said, no. He actually takes lemons. He squeezes the lemons. He puts water and sugar into it, and puts it in a glass, and he sells it to people. They give him money for his product. Patrick looked at me and said, I don't get it. I said, Patrick, here's the point of the story. This is a center to create new companies. This is not a science fair project.
The fundamental business of business is to get paying customers. The single necessary and sufficient condition for a business is that there is one and at least only one. It is to have a paying customer. So if you have a paying customer, you have a business. If you don't have a paying customer, you don't have a business yet. It's that simple.