Impossible, unlikely or difficult?

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tortugaranger

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Impossible, unlikely or difficult?
« on: 14 Sep 2017, 03:07 pm »
Maybe it's surviving the biggest hurricane ever - unscathed - or maybe it's just me waxing philosophical after 5+ years developing an unlikely preamp product but Seth Godin's most recent blog post resonated so I'm sharing.

Quote
Difficult tasks have a road map. With effort, we can get from here to there. It might surprise you to realize that difficult is easy once you have the resources and commitment. Paving a road is difficult, so is customer service and fixing software bugs.

But impossible and unlikely are where we get hung up.

On Tuesday, Apple launched a thousand dollar phone. The engineers and designers had unlimited time (ten years since the first one), unlimited resources, unlimited market power. It's possible that there hasn't been that much unlimited in one place in our entire lives. And, yet, all they could build was an animated emoji machine. A slightly better phone. A series of difficult tasks, mostly achieved.

It's not that another breakthrough is impossible. It's not that we've explored all the edges of human connectivity, of alternative currencies, of education, of personal transformation or generosity. It's not that we've already performed all the leaps in safety, in technology, in identity. Or even productivity. Of course not. It's not impossible to leap again with the magic computer we all have in our pocket.

What tripped up Apple, as it trips up many successful organizations or careers, is that the next leap isn't impossible... it's merely unlikely. It was unlikely that the original iPhone would have actually been transformative, but Steve took a huge leap and got lucky on the other side. It could easily have gone sideways. He tried for something that was unlikely to work, but it did.

That same sort of leap, the one into the unlikely, is available to all of us, at different scales. It's unlikely that our next brave novel, our next breakthrough speech, our next scary but generous project will succeed. Unlikely but worth it.

Unlikely never feels quite the same as difficult, and sometimes it appears impossible. It's neither. It's something risky, and something without a map or a guarantee. We hesitate to do it precisely because it might not work, precisely because it's more than difficult.

Working on an unlikely project takes guts and hubris. It requires us to have the insight to distinguish it from the impossible, and the desire to not merely do the difficult.

What percentage of your time are you spending on the unlikely?

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/09/impossible-unlikely-or-difficult.html

glynnw

Re: Impossible, unlikely or difficult?
« Reply #1 on: 14 Sep 2017, 05:07 pm »
Kinda in the same vein, there was a British TV show a few years back called "Connections".  It chronicled some of the major technology breakthroughs in history and showed how that breakthrough was not possible until a string of prior events paved the way.  As a poor example - the steam engine wasn't possible until a certain type of metal was made, that metal couldn't be made until a certain chemical process in an unrelated field was made, that process was made possible by the invention of calculus, and on and on.  Not to take away from trying the hard and "impossible", it simply showed that some things in our lives could not exist without that chain of prior events.  And it implied that once that chain existed, then it was almost inevitable that the next breakthrough would come. I found it fascinating and rational.

witchdoctor

Re: Impossible, unlikely or difficult?
« Reply #2 on: 14 Sep 2017, 05:29 pm »
Maybe it's surviving the biggest hurricane ever - unscathed - or maybe it's just me waxing philosophical after 5+ years developing an unlikely preamp product but Seth Godin's most recent blog post resonated so I'm sharing.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/09/impossible-unlikely-or-difficult.html

Seth's post is disingenious to me. If he is right Samsung will just crush Apple, game over.

charmerci

Re: Impossible, unlikely or difficult?
« Reply #3 on: 14 Sep 2017, 07:16 pm »
It's such a big topic where you could go anywhere.


Things will change in amazing ways you never thought possible. Yes, the unlikely will very much happen.

tortugaranger

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Re: Impossible, unlikely or difficult?
« Reply #4 on: 14 Sep 2017, 08:21 pm »
Seth's post is disingenious to me. If he is right Samsung will just crush Apple, game over.

disingenuous: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

Been following Seth Godin's blog for a few years now and that's not a word that easily fits the man or his work. Also, while the referenced post does specifically mention Apple my takeaway was he's making a far broader point.

For what it's worth I think Apple has been coasting ever since Jobs passed and in my view is unlikely to pull off a repeat breakthrough product. Still, they make excellent gear some of which I use daily although I still generally prefer Android phones because they appeal to the geek in me who likes to play under the hood....or at least be able to raise the hood and look.  :thumb:


witchdoctor

Re: Impossible, unlikely or difficult?
« Reply #5 on: 14 Sep 2017, 09:36 pm »
disingenuous: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

Been following Seth Godin's blog for a few years now and that's not a word that easily fits the man or his work. Also, while the referenced post does specifically mention Apple my takeaway was he's making a far broader point.

For what it's worth I think Apple has been coasting ever since Jobs passed and in my view is unlikely to pull off a repeat breakthrough product. Still, they make excellent gear some of which I use daily although I still generally prefer Android phones because they appeal to the geek in me who likes to play under the hood....or at least be able to raise the hood and look.  :thumb:

I read Seth's book and liked it, but did not agree with this post. We will see if he is right and AAPL stock price plummets in the next 12 months.