Merit is not enough

Merit is not enough

Great lesson from Gustave Eiffel by innovation expert Scott Berkun:

“The best ideas don’t always win. Your persuasion skills can make all the difference.”

1000+ thank you!

Something amazing happened to me this week. Three months after I started it, my blog reached 1000 page views.

One thousand views may not sound like much to you. Seth Godin’s great blog counted a mind numbing 4 million views in 2013. But you know what, to me one thousand views is a lot, and that’s all that matters. It means that some people, some real people were interested enough in what I wrote to spend a few minutes of their valuable time on it. These people went through the trouble of sharing it with their friends. And some of  them were even generous enough to share their thoughts with me from time to time.  

If you are reading this you are one of these people. THANK YOU for your incredible support, it means a lot to me!

Photo credit broterham@1996

For those us out there that seek to make a change in the world

We can.
We can make a difference.
We can stand up to insurmountable forces.
We can put up with far more than we think we can.
Our lever is far longer than we imagine it is, if we choose to use it.

If we don’t require the journey to be easy or comfortable or safe, we can change the world.

Fore more inspiration on this blog, read here.

Adapted from Seth Godin

Nobody said it was easy

Before pulling the plug

We all know the feeling, and it is killing. You have just introduced a great innovative initiative, which you know will revolutionize your business. Your boss fully supported it, the project team loved it, your colleagues were so enthusiastic….and then nothing happens. No hiccup, no delay, no technical problem, just zero, nought, nada happens. Colleagues ignore it, boss moves on to the next project, your business does not take notice. Time to put your darling out it its misery.

Before I pull the plug, I always try and look for the good little things I might have missed. Unexpected benefits that became visible only once all the rest failed; insights I gained on an unrelated matter; or simply people I connected with that gave me a fresh perspective. Innovation grows organically, you’ll never know the pleasant surprise your latest failure brought you unless you go look for it.

This is not a film review

Yesterday I had a remarkable experience. It started when I went to see Gravity, by all means a phenomenal movie. The structure of the story is classic, change the scenary and you get Red Riding Hood. Unexperienced space girl Sandra Bullock is sent on a dangerous mission (the magic voice of Ed Harris speaks from Houston), hell breaks loose and when all hope seems lost, space veteran George Clooney comes to the rescue and shows her the way home. It is the special combination of images and sound that makes viewing this film an unforgettable physical and emotional experience. Outer-space darkness and silence are alternated with crashing metal at brain-assaulting sound level, challenging the senses and sending heads spinning.

After a good night’s sleep I felt ready for more inspiration and visited an exhibition of Kazimir Malevich (1887-1935), one of the pioneers and founders of abstract art in Russia. The exhibition is one of the most important and comprehensive ever, and I don’t need to tell you that his work feels just as innovative and powerful today as it did 100 years ago. And this is when it happened. While I was walking along these incredible paintings, I realized that everything Gravity is about had already been painted almost one century earlier: black emptiness staring at us and challenging our sanity; man-made shapes hanging in a silent, endless space; and then the flying metal that will crash the life out of our bodies. 

There was no sound, but Malevich did not need it to send us traveling through time and space.

Read here more on movies. 

What was the last big idea you bet your reputation on?

Expert advice, anyone?

Whatever their field of expertise, experts are such because they have special skills or knowledge derived from their experience. They have studied things, seen things, been places, and that’s what makes them expert in something in the first place. I’ve been there before and I know how to get there, the general thinking goes. Or, I’ve been there before and I know that your way is not how to get there. The peculiar thing about experience though is that it is always a thing of the past, by definition.

If what you are after is finding the shortest, cheapest, safest way from A to B, then yes, by all means you want advice form those who have been there before, plenty of expert advice. But if you are working on something truly new, an idea that will change the way we run our business, a product that will turn our world upside down, then do us and yourself a favor: don’t ask experts the way. They can’t show you the way because there’s no way, yet. Take it from me, I am not an expert.

Image: Walk to Paradise Garden (1946), by legendary photographer W. Eugene Smit. Image property of Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

This made my day

Genius needs timing

Is your idea, your invention, your product so far ahead that the market for it simply isn’t there yet?

Genius needs timing: lessons on El Greco from Seth Godin.