Doing > Dreaming
Surfing Twitter, I meet folks trying to "re-" everything: redesign, rethink, remake from scratch, reinvent. In a visionary's head, ideas never stop popping. They can "see" how something should look or work their way. The idea of making something that flips the current scene upside down - it's thrilling, a bit magical, and sorta heroic.
Who wouldn't want to be remembered as someone who turned at least one thing upside down?
I firmly believe that reinventing anything loses out to constant changes and step-by-step improvements that people can experience here and now. Someone who launches something today, tomorrow, and the day after that has a bigger impact on the world than anyone else. The ones who get things done shape the reality.
Continuously improving anything, step-by-step, is a tough task that requires a ton of skills: taking responsibility, tediously grinding away at a million details, and engaging in complex discussions with others. Being a change agent is tough, but if you're not, then what's the point of doing anything, really? Is there anything more important than feedback from the people we constantly create or change things for? How else can you assess your impact and contribution, if not by running up against reality? And once you get a bit bruised, you jump back into the work until things get better.
I discuss it a lot with Max Ischenko, CEO of Djinni, and learn heaps from him. At the time of writing, he's the person constantly pushing me to test reality: more frequently and faster than I'm used to. For him, every "maybe" needs to morph into something tangible or it might as well not have existed. From this, I glean new and relearn already learned vital lessons:
- feedback from real people now is better than someday in the future
- product design is nothing but what people interact with in real life
- done is better than perfect
- everything we've imagined but not made is just a hallucination until it reaches customers
- counterintuitively, making mistakes and redoing things often is the shortest path to real change
In strategy games like Starcraft or Age of Empires, you always start with a map where nothing is visible. You can't win this game if you think too long, don't take risks, and don't make gradual changes. The winner is the one who moves, acts, and learns. Our work and life are very much like this game. We're only remembered for what we've done. Here and now, yesterday, today, and any other day.