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Jun 10th, 2021 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

You Have to Dig

Lately, I have been thinking about (and citing) Rob Walker’s somewhat famous quote on futuring:

There is no shortcut; there is no algorithm. If all you do is track what’s trending, then all you’ll ever know is exactly what everyone else already knew. To discover, you have to dig.

As so often in life — the good stuff is typically not visible to the naked eye but requires us to invest time and energy to peel away the layers. Which also means that you need to truly want it in the first place. Maurice Conti, former Head of Moonshots at Telefonica Alpha (the European Google X), likens disruptive innovation to pet tigers:

People like the idea of having a pet tiger. It’s cool. It makes you look cool. It’s exotic. But once you got one, you realize that pet tigers are a nightmare to keep and maintain. You need to look after them. They need a special cage. They need exercise. They are dangerous. And occasionally they eat your party guests.

I think Maurice’s analogy hits a bigger nerve and applies to most things in life: We all want so many things. But do we really want them once we truly realize how much work and effort it is?

It is worth creating an inventory of your wants and wishes — sorting them by: Yeah, nice to have (in which case you might just buy a plush tiger on Amazon) to “Heck, yes! I can not not do this”.

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