What competition really breeds

Competition is great at sustaining innovation. Little improvements of products year after year, making them a little faster and a little cheaper with few less defects. Competition help keep prices down and quality up. And, most importantly, they detract monopolies.

This has nothing to do with disruptive innovation, the kind of innovation that changes markets all together.

True innovation and disruptive technologies are most of the time started with a person working alone in a garage with little money and a big dream to change things. Its main source of energy and drive is passion, having the guts to see this project through, knowing that it might not work.

Alexander Bell, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos all started in a garage. You and your ideas are good enough to start there too.

What makes the internet so great?

When Theodore Vail became President of AT&T at the beginning of the 20th century, he created a monopoly by buying up as many smaller telephone companies as he could, eventually becoming powerful enough to complete his vision of “One Policy, One System, Universal Service.”

ABC and NBC dominated radio broadcasting and then moved to television where a single episode of I Love Lucy could attract 70% of households in America.

The Internet is totally different. It isn’t owned by anyone. Can you even name who invented it? (I couldn’t.)

In the world of disruptive technologies, the internet is the first medium where the means of production are not controlled by one single person or one single organization.

It is chaotic, noisy, decentralized and it is also a tool for innovation, connection and creation. You can use it to share whatever you want with anyone. And, most importantly, it is free to do as you wish.

It is how the internet has always thrived, but will it stay that way? Do you want Internet Service Providers to have the power to regulate, discriminate and charge users for access? Can we trust someone to have this much power?

These are important questions going forward. One worth paying attention to and examining further.

Born on third

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight, I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” ― Theodore Parker

The arc is still bending. More people than ever before are born with access to healthcare and the internet, knew when their next meal was going come, didn’t have to miss school to work, have sanitation and clean water, have equal opportunities. Still many are born in less than ideal circumstances without many of the amenities and convenience of the modern world.

It isn’t that we need to apologize for what we were born into, rather what are we going to do to make things better?

What are we going to stand for?

What kind of culture are we going to build?

What kind of world do you want to live in?

Opportunity, dignity, respect, connection, love, education are all basic human rights and privileges that every human should enjoy.

There is nothing wrong with being born on third. The problem comes when we think we hit a triple.

How are you going to change the world

If you can’t even change one person?

It’s daunting to say that we are going to end world poverty or world hunger or change healthcare.

It is so big and audacious how do you even start?

You don’t–it is another form of hiding.

The alternative is to make the change you seek to make in the world by helping one person at a time. One by one reaching out and touching the people around you. Can you think of one person in your school, your job, your neighborhood, your community that only you can help?

It is popular to make a big splash but popular is not the same as important. What is important is the ripple affects you make, they are far more reaching than the splash.

The enormity of solving world problems are incomprehensible. What is easy to measure is asking yourself:

Did I help someone today?
Did I make a difference?
Did I help someone take a giant leap forward?
Did I help someone do something that I could never do?
Did I help someone see the world as it is?

If you do it once, you can do it again. You improve what you measure.

The gap of doing something never been done before

Is big when we are talking about doing something that has never been done before in the history of the world.

Market conditions have to be perfect, the technology has to be available, the culture has to be ready. That gap is often too big for any one person to cross. This chasm is bridged one plank at a time, built upon each other, never alone.

On the other hand, thanks to the internet the gap of doing something that you have never done before is shrinking.

But it takes guts, grit and patience. You have to pick yourself. You need to be willing to fail, to push through the dip. Sometimes it requires sacrifice like going back to school or quitting a job. It might mean saying no to things like social media or Netflix. Mostly, it is about finding the courage to take a leap.

The bigger the gap you close the bigger the change you make.

The blank canvas

Coloring in the lines, polishing, hiding the smudges is one way to live your life.

Another way is to paint your own picture, living with the mistakes you make along the way.

Ask yourself which life it is you would be proud to put your name on.

Brownies

If I were to hand you a cup of water, would you say these are delicious brownies?

How about oil or eggs or flour?

Separately, they don’t taste like a brownie.

Only when we add them together do we have delicious brownie mix.

But we still don’t have brownies.

It is only when they are heated in the right temperature for the right time do we get the results we seek.

Too long and they are burnt. Too little and we have mush.

Teams, organizations, families all work the same way: We have to prepare all of the ingredients and we need the right settings in order for things to come together.