Are we gonna see power laces in 2015? To that, I say YES! —
Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, referring to the fictional sneakers Marty McFly wore in Back to the Future II (part of which took place in 2015).
Nike actually made and auctioned off 1,500 pairs of these on eBay in 2011, but not with the key feature: power laces.
"Yeah, I've got that on my list, so I'm okay." -
Bill Gates in the summer of 1998 (from the same brilliant joint-inteview with Warren Buffett that I keep linking to):
Sometimes we do get taken by surprise. For example, when the Internet came along, we had it as a fifth or sixth priority. It wasn’t like somebody told me about it and I said, “I don’t know how to spell that.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve got that on my list, so I’m okay.” But there came a point when we realized it was happening faster and was a much deeper phenomenon than had been recognized in our strategy. So as an act of leadership I had to create a sense of crisis, and we spent a couple of months throwing ideas and E-mail around, and we went on some retreats. Eventually a new strategy coalesced, and we said, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do; here’s how we’re going to measure ourselves internally; and here’s what the world should think about what we’re going to do.”
That kind of crisis is going to come up every three or four years. You have to listen carefully to all the smart people in the company. That’s why a company like ours has to attract a lot of people who think in different ways, it has to allow a lot of dissent, and then it has to recognize the right ideas and put some real energy behind them.
The first bit is important because it shows that disruption doesn’t always completely blindside those in power. Often times it’s just a matter of something happening far quicker than an incumbent realizes.
A great example of this with Microsoft isn’t just the internet as Gates describes above, but smartphones. Microsoft had Windows Mobile in prime position, but it wasn’t quite the “right idea” as Gates puts it. And once they realized that and came around to the right idea, it was far too late.
Basically every comment section on the internet.
Interstellar by Sysmatic
Culturally, I think we have operated as if we had the formula figured out, and it was all about optimizing, in its various constituent parts, the formula. Now it is about discovering the new formula. — New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an otherwise insanely bland first interview with The New York Times.
"The big thing is rationality." -
Warren Buffett in the summer of 1998 (from the brilliant joint interview with Bill Gates that I linked to the other day):
They’ve asked us to start out talking, the two of us, about what got us here, but then it’s on to your questions. How I got here is pretty simple in my case. It’s not IQ, I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear. The big thing is rationality. I always look at IQ and talent as representing the horsepower of the motor, but that the output—the efficiency with which that motor works—depends on rationality. A lot of people start out with 400-horsepower motors but only get a hundred horsepower of output. It’s way better to have a 200-horsepower motor and get it all into output.
So why do smart people do things that interfere with getting the output they’re entitled to? It gets into the habits and character and temperament, and behaving in a rational manner. Not getting in your own way. As I said, everybody here has the ability absolutely to do anything I do and much beyond. Some of you will, and some of you won’t. For the ones who won’t, it will be because you get in your own way, not because the world doesn’t allow you.
This point is almost seems too obvious and yet at the same time, too subtle. Both of which are undoubtedly why such a key aspect of life is often overlooked when talking about why someone achieves greatness.
I wish America Online would have been this fast.
kenrpapp asked: Do you have an RSS feed for your #500 posts? If not, I could probably filter your @lemonfeed by using "[500 Words]." Thanks.
Sadly, I do not. Perhaps if there was enough demand I could fairly easily set one up. Then again, it is RSS. Maybe better to make a separate Twitter account?
Update: As a number of you have pointed out, Tumblr actually makes this quite easy as there is an RSS feed for your tags by default! Here’s the link to the 500 Words RSS feed. Thanks all.
Anonymous asked: Love your site. And to form my feedback in the form of a question, doesn't it drive you batsh*t crazy that Kevin Spacey's tie in your site's hero picture doesn't line up perfectly with your centred lemon? Because I lose sleep over it.
It does indeed drive me insane on desktop every time I look at it. But on mobile it’s very close. We live in a mobile world, so I have to pick my battles.
To me, the most exciting part of the Facebook/WhatsApp deal has nothing to do with the deal itself. Instead, I’m excited about the ramifications of such a deal. And I’m not talking about Facebook or WhatsApp here either. History will ultimately prove that deal genius or folly. But more importantly, I know that a deal like this has other people talking, thinking, and building.
The last group is key, but let me start with the first group. Once the fervor around the deal itself died down, we got a couple of compelling posts from the likes of Benedict Evans and riffing on it, John Lilly. Incidentally, both are now VCs. But neither started out that way, and both have long histories of solid thinking and writing.
Both understand that the Facebook/WhatsApp deal is simply the strongest signal yet that we’ve fully entered a new age in the world of computing where mobile is now the kingdom. And the $19 billion price tag simply shows that there isn’t yet a king.
(Source: andgirlswillbe, via brooklynmutt)
Apple’s Campus 2: Demolition for the ‘spaceship’ has begun
Clearing room for the landing.
I think the multiples of technology stocks should be quite a bit lower than the multiples of stocks like Coke and Gillette, because we are subject to complete changes in the rules. I know very well that in the next ten years, if Microsoft is still a leader, we will have had to weather at least three crises. —
Bill Gates, in a joint-interview with Warren Buffett, in the summer of 1998 — before the Bubble burst, of course.
The whole interview is pure gold.
Ignorance And Crazy -
The problem is, this sort of ignorance and misunderstanding is often how we get true disruption - people are so ignorant that they don’t know something can’t be done and won’t work, so they go and do it, and it works. Dropbox and Paypal are particularly good examples of this, while Bessemer’s ‘anti-portfolio' is a fun look at the sensible reasons why some amazing companies would never work. The challenge of venture investing is that the model depends on investing in things that are laughable, because those are the only things that can make billions of dollars from zero in a few years. So you kind of want people to laugh at you and think you don’t understand the sector. You just have to be sure that you understand why they’re laughing.
Said another way: if it was obvious to everyone, everyone would be doing it — or worse: would have already done it. Only truly “crazy” ideas change anything. And only those ignorant enough (or “crazy” enough) chase “crazy” ideas.