The Eve of Greatness/Shitness
Hooooraay!! I got a haircut!! Oh, how wonderful life is, post a 110-day lockdown! And a big breakfast in a café in the morning sunshine, what a life! At least I’ll look dapper and wear a satiated smile when Trump is elected again in a few days’ time. Urghhh!! Sure, he’s despicable, but . . . could end that sentence there, really. Would Biden bring a refreshing change? Maybe bland will be nice. Whoever wins, the world isn’t crying out for more old white heterosexual religious men to lead countries. More Ardern, Merkel and Finland’s Sanna Marin please, the latter a progressive, raised by same-sex parents, and the youngest sitting Prime Minister in the world. Conversely the UK has Boris, with his ‘the time to act is now!’ lockdown measures, bizarrely being enacted in a few days’ time, about two months too late. Coincidence that the lockdown is happening on the historical day celebrated for attempting to blow-up the House of Lords? I think not. Guy Fawkes, not all bad.
Talking of leading ladies we wished there were more of, this week I’ve been listening to Hunch, an excellent book by Bernadette Jiwa on observation and idea creation, which reminded me of being out in the US earlier this year . . . Keeeerriiist! That trip seems like a million years ago. 2020 eh? Halloween hasn’t unearthed the Zombie Apocalypse yet, but just wait. Anyway, when Stateside a friend told me of their amazing idea, but they couldn’t reveal details as I would steal it, a common misconception (not me stealing ideas, but of not sharing them). Ideas are lovely, but execution is the thing. Unless you’re the British Prime Minister, anyone can have an idea. In fact, it’s a common theme amongst start-ups that there are no new ideas. It’s your take on it that’s the differentiator. Facebook didn’t create social networking. Apple didn’t create mobiles or touchscreens. To drive home the point (arf), how many car brands can you name? I can think of ten without leaving Japanese shores.
Over the years I’ve heard some fantastic ideas. A friend suggested investing in Bitcoin eighteen months before it hit mainstream. Unfortunately, his English, explaining it as ‘Bidcoin’, meant that neither of us now own our islands. Or flats. Or even cars. Another friend suggested selling collected ingredients for a meal over ten years ago, I even remember where I was when he told me. Simple idea, sure, but meal-packs are now a billion-dollar industry. After visiting Russia where anyone could flag down a car and negotiate a lift, I wanted to see this elsewhere, solving problems of an over-rated, expensive taxi services. The shared mobility industry is . . . well, Uber alone was worth about $82 billion in 2019. By 2030, according to BusinessInsider, the global Robotaxi fleet market will be worth at least US$2 trillion annually. As above, almost anyone can have an idea.
If you have ideas, share them, get as much feedback and points of view as you possibly can. If you think it’s still worth doing, carry out the one piece of advice I give people: have courage, take some risks. Actually, two pieces of advice – work your as off, too. Don’t listen to the inner voice that shouts you down at every corner or the people that provide nothing but negativity. The biggest detractors are often ourselves. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs (thankfully) but see an idea through. ‘I wish I would have . . .’ is a shit place to be. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but pontificate about it and you’ll never know.
I’d highly recommend Hunch, and Happiness by Design by Paul Dolan, oh and I’ve just started the emotional Letters of Note on Love read by Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones, Miriam Margolyes and countless others. Despite listening to them for free on BorrowBox, I’ve subsequently bought all. Insightful and life-affirming, and when do you ever not need that? On the other side of the world, the second-wave is hitting, amidst a divisive, bitter American election and a long winter ahead. If you can’t escape lockdown, maybe your mind can, maybe it will need it for, I don’t know, the next four years. I don’t think you can properly count yourself screwed though until Gal Gadot sings a song at you, so there’s always a bright side.
Octobers’ Reading List:
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