Only lately a friend shared an insight from Steve Jobs, that goes:
‘The day we started Apple computer, IBM was far more powerful in the computer industry than Microsoft and Intel are today. Because they not only controlled the technology, they controlled the customer. They had direct contact with the customer. And, so, we should just get out. I mean, I should have just nudged Woz and said “Hey, forget it. Not a chance”. But, we were too stupid to know that. We hadn’t gone to business school. We didn’t read the Wall Street Journal. We didn’t know what the Wall Street Journal was. I’d never seen a Wall Street Journal. And that served us well.’
It made me think about all other business tycoons that I might have come across and their journeys in getting where they are today. What is the chance that they might have gone out to get specialised qualifications for business? Do we really need those sleepless nights, tiring days and constant efforts to achieve a business degree? Do the economic theories of higher wage premium with a higher ‘signalled’ KSA still stand? Or have the dynamics of innovation, business and current economy left all these criteria void? Business is not about meeting the demand; it’s about creating the demand! The contemporary traditions of business leave behind all theories and academic explanations of administering businesses.
Is business an innate instinct or a craft that can be mastered? The benefit of experience and knowledge is one thing no one can deny of but something that determines if you actually go down a path or not, is none of these obvious, ‘signalled’ traits. Bigger than all of these, is the aptitude. Be it for taking risk, creativity and that unsophisticated, unreasonable approach to life.
The most successful products or ideas that have made their mark, were once thought of as highly inappropriate, illogical or disgusting? And there is not one but million examples that can be laid out along these lines. Fifty shades of grey, literature that might be thought of as disturbing for many, but the sales just went off the roof. Facebook, a networking platform that is bringing the world closer, which was created by an introvert and developed from Facemash, which was not only socially inappropriate but also offensive.
If unorthodox is the new trendsetter, have we become over educated in to knowing too many hurdles and risks and too less of the entrepreneurial irrationality? And in doing so, are we settling for too less?