Look before you leap, but don’t look for too long

Research is important. Planning is important. But at what point do you just ‘go for it’? And is it conceivable that too much research, plotting and planning puts you at a disadvantage, disconnecting you from the razor’s edge of innovation, creativity and thinking differently?

Don’t worry if you don’t know “absolutely everything” before starting out

Before they launched their car com­panies, Henry Ford and Karl Benz didn’t decide to first spend a decade trying to win the approval of prominent horse breeders or railway magnates. Same goes for the Wright Brothers.

When Google– the most successful advertising business in the history of the world– star­ted their company, their founders knew practically nothing about the inside workings of Madison Avenue. Sergey Brin and Larry Page most likely had zero inside knowledge about famous advertising titans like Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, Lee Clowes, John Hegarty or Claude Hopkins. They were just a couple of twenty-something Stanford PhD students, who were far more interested in Internet search engines than they ever were in Nielsen Ratings, Proctor & Gamble or The Clio Awards. Which helps explain why, when the nor­mal, mainstream, industry-obsessed kids of around the same age were just landing their first East Coast internships or junior executive positions at advertising blue-chips like McCann’s, Lintas, DDB or Saatchi’s, Sergey and Larry were already well on their way to becoming billionaires.

I love this story about Bill Gates: Some years ago, when the company he foun­ded, Mic­ro­soft was at the height of its powers, he was giving a lec­ture to some college stu­dents. When the the Ques­tion & Ans­wers came along, a keen undergra­duate asked the ques­tion, “What advice would you give to a young per­son like me who wants to make a lot of money some day?”

Gates’ ans­wer was as won­der­ful as it was short: “For Good­ness’ sake, don’t do what I did. That money’s already been made by me.”

via gapingvoid.com