For an entrepreneur, there is nothing that feels as good as creating something amazing from nothing. This is the hope.
Like artists, we create. But we are artists that must sell. There’s no chance to be discovered after death. Our creation lives or dies in the present.
Imagine if a crowd of museum goers could make a sculpture disappear forever with their disapproval, or far worse, their simple misunderstanding. How many artists would stop showing work? How many artists would stop creating altogether? How many would create cheap crap, that was simply a quick get?
Lean startups, minimum viable products, and agileness as it creates “release early, release often” – all of this new jargon of process aims to improve the science of creating something amazing. “Amazing” here is defined primarily by a creation’s acceptability. “It’s a lottery,” they say. You can’t know what will work, the key is to scratch off as many tickets as possible before the timer of your cash burn runs out.
This approach is true. It is rational. It also lacks romance. Classical motivation is provided by metrics – “users” first and P & L second. Simply a video game to win.
APIs, open source, leverage, and standing meetings – they are all action without delay. Just enough detail to “do” – no more.
There are deeper details. These are neither necessary nor welcome in high speed startups. These details are in not just the metrics of the parts interacting, but in the very creation of the parts.
The story of business today is dominated by crap made by soulless monkeys in a room desperately scratching off lottery tickets.
There’s nothing surprising about this. All of them, like me, are simply scared. Scared of their work disappearing.
Trading one’s soul for “success” (and the illusion of permanence) is an easy deal to make. It’s an old story.
“I’ve noticed that people who have never worked with steel have trouble seeing this… that the motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon. They associate metal with given shapes… pipes, rods, girders, tools, parts… all of them fixed and inviolable, and think of it as primarily physical. But a person who does machining or foundry work or forge work or welding sees “steel” as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.” -R. Pirsig