Building the perfect company is all about finding the balance between what you have to offer and what the world wants. In this post, we hear from Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of Udacity, about some of the lessons he's learned about making a name for himself in the world through his business.
While "managing for sales success" is a misguided approach to solving organizational problems, there is much to be learned from leading experts and entrepreneurs about what is different about building a business today.
Make a Name: The Creative Guide to Building an Impact Business, edited by Jocelyn Glei, features the insights of twenty-one leading experts and entrepreneurs to examine the principles that guide some of today's most successful companies.
It is about “applying the power of business to creativity”.
In the foreword to the book, Scott Belsky, founder of Behance and author ofcarry out ideas, points to one of the fundamental problems of creativity: it is often impossible to discover. And if it is not recognizable, it has no effect.
Creativity has many definitions.
For me, creativity means solving problems in new ways and developing new perspectives on the world.
Creativity can be expressed in many ways such as art, science and thinking.
But creativity is often undetectable and elusive.
Art without diffusion and discovery does not move anyone. Did it ever exist? Science is not understood by the masses without clear explanation and approval. Will it have an impact?
Creation, he argues, "must be available for consumption". Creativity alone is not enough. We need to make it consumable by piping and packaging it.
The best companies have a purpose. But you won't get very far without an amazing product experience. Driving all great product development are the twin ideals of "an unstoppable enthusiasm for bringing something great to the world and a relentless focus on ease of use." Making good products takes time.
Enter Sebastian Thrun, the leader behind the team that developed Google Glass and Google's self-driving car. He is also a co-founder of Udacity, which seeks to innovate education by improving the learning experience. Thrun does a Q&A about the book and it's one of the best things I've read lately.
How do you focus your energies at the beginning of a project?
When thinking about products, I like to use the mountaineering analogy. The first step is to select a peak. Don't pick a peak because it's easy. Choose a peak because you really want to get there; Then you will like the process.
The second thing is to choose a team that you trust and that is willing to learn from you. Because mountaineering works in such a way that you cannot climb the entire route perfectly. You must know that you will be wrong, that you must go back, and that you must recover.
You also need to maintain your sense of purpose. For a long time it may seem like you're on the wrong path, but you have to have resilience to keep going. You just have to move up.
It's about the process, not the result.
For me, travel is much more beautiful when you enjoy it every day than at the end of the year. If your goal is to go public and get rich, then you have a very long and very sad journey ahead of you. Because most people don't go public and don't get rich.
Our most important asset is our time, so I think it's better to manage your time well now and be happy with it, instead of focusing on a deferred goal like... B. Buying a fancy car in the future. Data shows that rich people aren't happier, so you might as well derive your happiness from what you're doing today.
What role does iteration play in your process? Do you think it's better to create a working prototype as soon as possible?
Coming back to the idea of the mountain, if you think about it, there is no other way to climb the mountain than walking a hundred thousand steps. You could have all the meetings and paperwork and work for weeks to come up with the perfect plan. But in my opinion, everything you've done so far is wasted time. You did not do anything. you haven't learned anything
Of course, if this mountain has already been climbed ten thousand times, just take the book and maps and follow the same steps. But this is not an innovation. Innovation is climbing a mountain that no one has climbed before. So there must be some unknowns as no one has solved the problem yet.
And when you innovate, pure thinking just doesn't work. What gets you there is fast iteration and fast failure. And if you fail, you've accomplished something great: you've learned something. In hindsight it might seem a little strange and people will say, "You should have known". Almost every entrepreneur I know has massively failed many, many times along the way.
What is the most common mistake people make when developing a product?
A mistake I see often is the eternal thinker, the perfectionist. This is the person who builds all the components without assembling them, because there is perfection in component development. And they have this idea that if you put things together before launch, everything will be fine. Of course that never happens.
The second flaw I see is more of a character issue, getting discouraged by failure. When you do something three or four times, you're half a year into development and you're like, "Oh my God, I'm not ready yet, let me change careers." 🇧🇷 🇧🇷 Therefore, resistance is lacking.
The last one I see is driven by fear. When your competitor comes up with something new, you get excited and decide to change course. But every time you do that, you're already behind your competitor and that's a bad idea. You have to believe in yourself and believe in your vision.
At some point, everyone is driven by fear. But we have to get the fear out of the game as best we can. One way to do this is to imagine that you are already successful. They looked to the future and they succeeded. What would you like to do today with this knowledge?
Obviously, certain personality types are more comfortable with iteration and failure than others. Do you think you can learn to be if it doesn't come naturally to you?
I realize that there is a certain personality type that handles failure better than others. But I think awareness can also be acquired, especially when you realize that the mistakes you make in experimenting really have nothing to do with you as a person. It's just the flow of innovation; Failure is a systemic part of that process.
For example, if you drive a car and run out of gas after 300 miles, no one blames you because the "fault" is inherent in the car, not you. It's not your fault to operate the car correctly. We all know you need to fill up your gas tank; that's how it is. So when we think about innovation failures like regularly refilling the gas tank, we can take a lot less personally.
That's a great metaphor. So you think the idea of playful and constant experimentation is the best mindset for innovation?
It's very unusual for people to have the "Wow, I don't know" attitude. In childhood, researchers call this the "growth mindset": this notion that you are comfortable with not yet knowing something or not being able to do something. But most people grow up feeling like they know everything.
But if you know everything, you can't innovate, right? It's impossible because there's nothing new to learn or discover.
There's a funny saying I like: "After high school students know everything, after graduation they know something, and after Ph. D. they now know they know nothing."
I think being able to see how much there is still to know and being humble about it is actually a good thing. Returning to the mountain metaphor, all climbers I know feel small in the mountains and enjoy being small. No matter what you do, the mountain is always bigger than you.
make your markis the third book in 99u's "Lost Curriculum" for Creative Leaders. The two above areManage your daily life: create your routine, find your focus and sharpen your creative mindyMaximize Your Potential: Expand your experience, take bold risks, and build an incredible career..