What is Goliath afraid of?

Everyone is afraid to stand up against Goliath.

But I am also convinced that Goliath is afraid of us too.

That’s why the record industry went out of their way to sue small time torrent downloaders and why Wal-Mart undercuts everyone around them.

Someone, eventually, knocks Goliath down. We are just waiting for you to show up.

Real power is not what you can bench, but your capacity to do.

Work is not a paycheck

At the beginning of our lives, we did all sorts of things for free. That changed once we got older and decided to go to work. Once we get paid to do something, we don’t want to do it anymore because it’s our job.

So why would we spend (interest word, spend) our time doing something just because we got paid?

Wouldn’t we better spending our time doing work we love, even if we don’t get paid?

Your work is not defined by how much money you make. If it did, that would mean that the CEO of the company you work for brings 380 times more value than you do.

No, work is more than something you do by the hour. It could be measured by the difference you make, the lives you touch, the people you heal. Or it can be defined by the change you seek to make.

You could be paid in community or maybe you get paid in the satisfaction of helping someone who needs to be helped.

Fortune 500’s and social impact

Recently, I was invited to give feedback for a workshop a friend of mine is developing.

During one of the activities, one of the participants expressed that she wanted to be a CEO for a billion-dollar company and have a social impact component.

It’s quite rare to find a Fortune 500 that tries to make the culture better. Fortune 500’s don’t become Fortune 500’s by solving world hunger, they do it by generating profits.

If the goal is to be maximize the return for shareholders, to squeeze the machine for another buck, it changes our attitude.

Impossible to serve two masters. It’s a trap, that many of us fall into:

Once I get mine, then I will help those around me.

But that’s not how generosity works. When you feed the network, the network turns around and feeds us back.

Repeatedly, we wait until conditions to be perfect for us before we lift others. Yet, we don’t need to be in charge, we don’t need more authority, we don’t need a bigger paycheck to care.

Caring is a posture we can start today.

(It’s rare to find someone all sudden become extremely generous with their money once they get rich. Money amplifies behavior/character, not change it.)

Relying on path dependence

It turns out, that the fuel engines for the Space Shuttle couldn’t be larger than 4 feet and 8.5 inches wide.


Because that was the width of the rail line between Utah and Florida.

That width was determined a century ago by a few laborers who came over from England to help build the US rail system.

Before that, their predecessors in Europe built lines to fit along the paths made by horses and carts.

So, why 4 feet and 8.5 inches?

Because that is the width Romans built their roads.

As Adam Morgan and Mark Barden have pointed out, these rocket design features today have been shaped by a Roman road engineer 2,000 years ago.

This is the power of lock-in. We rely on the persistence of features without second thought.

We know that there are faster methods to type than the QWERTY keyboard but the pain of learning a whole new system isn’t worth the advantages.

meter stick is just a bar hung on a wall in France—all design features that we live with today.

Deciding which boundaries to work with and which ones to break, is a choice that each ruckus makers gets to decide.

“If you’re not flying, you’re not trying”

Rock climbers like to remind each other that if you’re not falling off the routes, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

Sound advice.

Do you only take projects that will work 100% ahead of time?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

What was your last major flop?

Are you waiting to be told what to do next?

If it’s been a while since you failed, you’re not trying things that are hard.

It’s another form of hiding.

Stretching is what leads to growth.

Understanding art part 3: We are not accountants

We are more than a resume.

What you do can’t be condensed into a list of hard-skills on a single sheet of paper.

Yet, when people ask what we do, we insist on saying that we are accountants (or dentists or clerks…).

No, we are artists.

How long are we going to ignore the call?

The call to action.

The call to make a difference.

The call to help someone who needs to be helped.

The call to do the thing that you must do.

No one ever feels qualified to make art. There isn’t enough reinsurance to protect us. A bigger badge isn’t going to help, and neither will another degree.

We always feel unprepared for our moment to stand up and speak out.

If you are going to lie and say that you have no voice, no good ideas, I will show you someone who’s afraid to share their art.

Everyone has a voice in them, ready to sing.

Many are called, few will answer.