06 Dec 2016

Escape Velocity

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I love science fiction and I grew up in the age where Star Wars and Star Trek ruled the silver screen, both at the box office and on the TV. When new movies hit the big screen like Interstellar or The Martian I’m first in line to see them. Even as a kid, back then I knew there was something about Sci Fi that said it was okay to believe in the impossible.

Throughout my life I have often found myself looking to the skies for some sort of divine inspiration.  I am also reminded of the profound beauty and timelessness  and the vastness of this ever changing Universe and yet, how fleeting the moment in our lives are as we bask in the rays of the sun and heavens.  One of the things that I find fascinating is that whether hero, villain, poet, musician, painter, healer or mystic we all look at the same stars.  We are all a part of the same cosmos.

You may be asking yourself, “Where is he going with this?”   Well, I often think I’m the center of the Universe.  As you might imagine this is a constant source of loving irritation to my wife.   Yeah, I am aware that there is a much, much bigger production being staged, but, again, I know that I am an integral part of that production.  You see, you, just like me are the casting director, script writer, stage hand and or costume designer etc.  We get to choose whether we are the star or a bit player in our Sci Fi production called life.

I titled this blog “Escape Velocity” for two reasons.  Firstly, I get to reference a Journey Album that of course has “Don’t Stop Believing,” as one of the tracks.  And secondly, to remind myself that it takes minimal effort to remain in your orbit. It takes minimal effort to keep doing the same ol’ same ol’.   However, breaking free of that orbit takes will. This is why I love science fiction.  It’s the metaphor for going into uncharted territories.  Breaking free from your current obit requires a new destination and a new vision.   It requires confidence to proceed to the destination you’ve envisioned, fearlessly.  What’s amazing, you get a warp speed button or even better, as seen in the movie, Space Balls, a ludicrous speed button.  All it takes is our willingness to hit that button to change the trajectory of our obit.

Keeping in alignment with the stars, Elon Musk is invaluable to modern business because he started a company with what could only be described as silver screen science fiction.  His intention is colonization of Mars!!!  That is his dream, his calling and his passion and he is making his dream a reality with every countdown and every launch.  What makes him such a great role model is that he’s dreaming big and executing bigger.  Musk is not after a better company.  The reality is he has manifested an entirely new business category and incredibly he has figured out how to be of service and value to mankind.  Whatever you are choosing to do with your life you are either growing or shrinking.  The world will keep evolving with or without you. It has been said that life imitates art.  John F. Kennedy took the script from a silver screen science fiction movie and set it into motion by sending us to the moon.  It was said of Steve Jobs that, “if he’s decided that something should happen; then he’s just going to make it happen.” Both President Kennedy and Steve jobs understood the secret velocity of dreaming and believing in the reality of that dream.

Recently I read, Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets,” which is probably the best marketing book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of them.  Essentially, the book speaks about how to frame yourself and your company to be different versus a better option.  The authors explore the need for seeing a problem that people have in a unique way and then showing the world how to solve it, using, “your” product and or services.  They use Uber as an example.  Uber capitalized on the dilemma of hailing a taxi.  Basically, Uber taught us that hailing a taxi on a street corner in inclement weather or rush hour or at night was archaic.  The solution that they put forth was to use current Smartphone technology to order up a ride.   “Winning companies today market the problem, not just the solution… Once people see the problem they can’t unsee it.”   Therefore, show people the problem, provide the solution and the world will beat a path to your door demanding your product or services.

So as I wind up my blog, I have several questions for you.  Do you have the courage to be different?  Do you have the courage to remain different? Do you want to be an original?  The companies we revere, IBM of the 1960’s, Microsoft of the 1980’s, Apple, Salesforce and Facebook just to name a few defined themselves as different and original.  They were all relentless in that pursuit.

Understand that better is for people who want to compete.   Different is for those who want to create.  Business, good business, isn’t about competition it’s about creation.  To be non-consensus is to stray from the crowd having new insight that moves us all forward on our evolutionary path.  Peter Thiel, “Zero to One,” says that every great company starts with a secret.  What’s your universal secret? We must believe that there more secrets to discover.  To uncover them, we must first start by looking for them within. We must create our own SciFi art and Escape Velocity, believing that our lives can imitate it.   That internal search requires imagination and hope.  Be hopeful because by itself, your hope is an act of faith.  Take action to create momentum.  Gather your resources.

And as Scotty from Star Trek would say, “I’m giving her all she’s got,” and so should you.  Your dreams deserve no less.

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