Friday, October 2, 2009

Eureka? Just do it.

I just read Rands in Repose's blogpost Hurry. It's an eloquent call-to-action (or maybe call-to-courage) reminding us all that when it comes to our own eureka moments, we can't wait.

It's 8:45 am. You have an idea. You know it's great because you get that slightly exhilarated feeling. First step? Due diligence. You Google it. Anything else out there just like in the marketplace living, breathing, and operating? No. Cool. You have time. You need to think it through, after all, and ping it off your boss, co-worker; fantasy football friends. Your phone rings and your email bleeps and all of sudden it's 3:30 next Wednesday. And along the way, you get validation, do more research; you wait for the the perfect time.


There is no perfect time. And like Rands says, "Do the math. We are all staring at the same set of data. Yes, there is a lot of data and there is a very low probability that you’re able to surf it all, but here’s the rub: There’s a lot of us. In fact, there’s a shitload of us, and when you combine all of us with the equally huge amount of data, you understand that when I arrive at work and google my great ideas, I’m no longer surprised when my precisely designed drive-to-work business model is already in play."

We've all read the studies on the power of "going with your gut" (Malcom Gladwell's Blink is a pretty obvious example of this). When you have an idea and your intuition hints (or screams) - that it could actually work, it is often because you care about the topic surrounding it. By being naturally tuned into a certain topic or problem, you have been collecting data along. You know more than you think. What are you waiting for?

Sure. Of course. We all know the answer before you say it. As Rands says -"comfort" because "you've got a mortgage and 1.5 kids" or "Do just enough. Don't rock the boat. Make yourself indispensable without being noticeable" or my favorite: "Maybe you're waiting for validation. You're waiting for that someone you respect to say, 'yes, you bright person, you should do that thing.' It was your parents when you were a kid and then it was your first boss, but now it  simply needs to be you."

We have the internet and we have way more access to information than ever before and in turn every possibility to start something - a new product, a new cause, a new tribe.

Of course, not all ideas first to market are successful (Friendster), and not all that wait fail (Facebook).  Some pop up later and take best practices from what already exists and improve concept #1.  However, the marketplace is competitive and sometimes 2nd place is the first loser.

When you get an idea, don't wait. Don't wait because you are afraid you will fail (you very well might as Derek Sivers reminds us) because if you don't ever try you'll never know.  Consider, as Adrian Slywotzky points out in his book The Upside that Toyata might have never developed the Prius if it took its risk-assessment tools to heart - calculating that the car had only a 5% chance of success.

And above all, don't wait because you are afraid you will succeed, or because things are good enough as they as are. BE the one to start your thing.  The world will thank you.


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...Your playing small does not serve the world...As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
-Marianne Williamson

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