“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” — George Bernard Shaw
I rarely think about illustrations I’d like to work on, and I rarely come up with ideas for posters that reference pop culture, or TV, or movies. But I can’t stop coming up with business ideas, and models, and plans. They are small business ideas, and big business ideas. Ones that connect smart people to other smart people. Ones that I could never build or scale by myself—but they have good narratives, and sound architectures. Ones that could create value.
But ideas—business or otherwise—are becoming cheaper and cheaper. YCombinator suggests big problems to solve on their site. People share business ideas freely on twitter. Bloggers share ideas every day. They are everywhere. If you watch the world closely, they are easy to come by. But, we all know they are meaningless without execution. They are meaningless if romantically drawn on a napkin and then left alone.
I used to think that good execution only needed a few things: smart people, late nights, post-it notes, development to make it real, design to craft the narrative, and business to make it sustainable. But execution takes risk. And risk-taking is a skill set. A skill that progress requires.
A risk-taker is someone who is willing to make something before they are funded, to add value before they are applauded, and to tell a story before they are sure it will work.
Risk is a choice. A hard choice, and a choice that may fail. But a choice that we need to value, and to encourage. It’s hard to turn down something comfortable. It’s hard to turn down something good, in the hopes of something great. It’s hard to be persistently unreasonable. But, all progress depends on it.
Thank you to the risk takers and the do-ers. You are making our world a better place.