Be the Cannonballer

There are some people who go through their entire lives waiting and watching to see what everyone else does. They predicate their actions on the success of others.

Does a venture look like a risky bet? Wait for everyone else to try it and then see what they’re saying afterwards.

Hit upon a new technique? Stand by and let someone else implement it first, then see if it was worth it.

Does the water appear cold? Nudge your friends into going in there first, then only go in yourself when it appears they’re not freezing.

Sometimes, the risk is worth it. Sometimes, you need to be the first one in there. You can’t always depend on everyone else to set the trends, because the trend-setters often enjoy success. Many times, they’re the ones who get to direct what’s going on—the ones who get to really lead.

Maybe this time, you have to be the one jumping into the cold water first. Make some waves and do a cannonball.

Have We Learned From “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”?

Seth Godin:

A newspaper that only had a few dozen employees would be doing great today. But they have hundreds or thousands of employees because that was an appropriate scale twenty years ago. When I started my first web combany fifteen years ago, the idea that you could be successful with six or ten employees was crazy, but today many of the most successful companies have not many more than that. That’s 15,000 fewer employees than eBay has.

It’s tempting to get bigger. But is bigger better? In many cases, it’s worse, particularly when you can leverage reliable systems that are cheaper and faster and more stable in the outside world. If you can make your product better by assembling it yourself, you should. But if that action makes it worse, why do it?

Is your organization too big? Too small? Just right?