Accepting Unconventional Risk

Very successful businessmen preach that
the difference for them is that they select the path that no one else is
taking. They zig when others zag. The mindset is that if
everyone else is doing it then what advantage do I have?

This is also true when the goal is to
make something remarkable. If it is remarkable then it challenges conventions
and no one has ever seen it before. It is unimaginable to them.

To get to that end state though you
have to balance skepticism with creativity. Skepticism is needed so that the
project stays on track and levels a certain amount of reality to the
proceedings. Creativity is needed to test new theories, try new methods, and
unlock assumptions. The creativity aspect needs to go right up to that line of

A good example of
this is in today’s NY Times. The article is called The Team That Put the Net in Orbit by John Markoff. Markoff describes the environment that was needed to
install the TCP/ IP computer network language. There were renegades – Milo
Medin, there was business – IBM, and there were legislators – Al Gore who all
accepted that this was a new and untested way to accomplish something that they
couldn’t even dream. But they knew that the idea was too good to leave alone.
Think of it this way – who is the president of the internet? Sounds funny,
doesn’t it? But that was and still remains an unconventional concept – having
no recognized person in charge.

Some zig while most others zag.


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