In June of 1973, spurred on by the recent discovery of a dying bird in his garden, 9-year-old Anthony Hollander wrote to the presenters of Blue Peter — the BBC’s much-loved children’s television show — and asked for assistance in his quest to “make people or animals alive.”
If [Biddy Baxter’s] letter had shown any hint of ridicule or disbelief I might perhaps never have trained to become a medical scientist or been driven to achieve the impossible dream, and really make a difference to a human being’s life. I remember being thrilled at the time to have been taken seriously. Actually, even nowadays I am thrilled when people take my ideas seriously. — Anthony Hollander
Someone is Coming to Eat You
You have a hit. Congratulations, you’ve built something that is perceived as being best of class. Seminal moment - go you. What’s your next move?
Your success is a battle plan for your competition. Your success is a public acknowledgement of a strategy that works, and while I appreciate that you and your team are tired, I’m going to be a buzz kill. Your success is your worst enemy. Your success, while hard earned, is a curse.
Your enticing success has your competition chasing you, and that means that, by definition, that they need to run harder and faster than you so they can catch up. Yes, many potential competitors are going to bungle the execution and vanish before they pose a legitimate threat but there’s a chance someone will catch up, and when they do, what’s their velocity? Faster than yours.
The reward for winning is the perception that you’ve won. In your celebration of your awesomeness, you are no longer focused on the finish line, you now lack a clear next goal, and while you sit there comfortably monetizing eyeballs, you’re becoming strategically dull. You’ve forgotten that someone is coming to eat you and if you wait until you can see them coming, you’re too late. Just ask Nokia or RIM.
[Tim] Cook’s larger contribution is an operations team that enables them to build and ship new products with increasingly ferocious regularity.
Steve Jobs knew that he didn’t just need to out-design his competition, he needed to out-execute them. Apple is an ambidextrous organization that is equally adept at designing products as they are at making sure millions of them are ready the moment you want them.
You have to get back on the horse. The universe needs you. It really does.
You have to get back on the horse. Somehow, and I don’t know how this kind of thing starts, we have started to lionize horseback-not-getting-on: these casual, a priori assertions of inevitable failure, which is nothing more than a gauze draped over your own pulsing terror.
Every creative act is open war against The Way It Is. What you are saying when you make something is that the universe is not sufficient, and what it really needs is more you. And it does, actually; it does.
Go look outside. You can’t tell me that we are done making the world.
— Tycho, Penny Arcade