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This is a common attention-getting technique online. Throw yourself under a bus, attract spectators. There are countless ways to reveal your embarrassments, your inner demons and your current conflicts. There are a myriad of crazy projects you can undertake, all guaranteed to attract an appreciative crowd, the same people who want to see the crazy guy jump off the bridge or the brawl break out in the parking lot.
Are you going to succeed because you return emails a few minutes faster, tweet a bit more often and stay at work an hour longer than anyone else? I think that's unlikely. When you push to turn intellectual work into factory work (which means more showing up and more following instructions) you're racing to the bottom. It seems to me that you will succeed because you confronted and overcame anxiety and the lizard brain better than anyone else. Perhaps because you overcame inertia and actually got significantly better at your craft, even when it was uncomfortable because you were risking failure.
A brief visit to the emergency room last month reminded me of what an organization that's pre-digital is like. Six people doing bureaucratic tasks and screening that are artifacts of a paper universe, all in the service of one doctor (and the need to get paid and not get sued). A 90-minute experience so we could see a doctor for ninety seconds. Wasteful and even dangerous.
I understand the folks who wait for a creative work to come out in paperback, to be free on TV, the ones that get the half-price tickets at TKTS near the end of the run. They're cheap, at least when it comes to this particular sort of art. I understand the audience that waits to read the reviews, that wants to hear from friends and anointed critics before they spend their money. They're careful. So who comes on opening night? No discounts, no reviews, no warning...
First, to restate the obvious: Attention from those interested and able to buy is worth more now than ever before. Companies like Google, Amazon, Daily Candy, Netflix, Target, and on and on traffic in attention. It's their primary asset.
As in, "that's not a real football team, they don't play in Division 1" or "That stock isn't traded on a real exchange" or "Your degree isn't from a real school." Real contains all sorts of normative assumptions and implicit criticisms for those that don't qualify. Real is just one way to reject the weird. My problem with the search for the badge of real is that it trades your goals and your happiness for someone else's. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
In 1993, I saw the web coming. I was hired to write the cover story for a now defunct computer magazine about the internet, and dismissed the new Mosaic browser in a single paragraph. I figured the web was just like Prodigy, but slower, harder to use and without a business model.
... and that's the problem. I was picking out the mat for a framed photo and there were a thousand colors to choose from. The framer uttered the scary invocation, putting the choice back to me.
"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."
Rule one: You can build a business on the foundation of great customer service. Rule two: The only way to do great customer service is to treat different customers differently . The question: Who is your customer?
Good luck with that, there aren't any. If you hesitate when leaping from rope to another, you're not going to last very long. And this is at the heart of what makes innovation work in organizations, why industries die, and how painful it is to try to maintain the status quo while also participating in a revolution. Gather up as much speed as you can, find a path and let go.