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June 15, 2009

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How to Invent

According to Jeff Bezos, inventing is easy. You just have to sign up for these three things:

“There are a few prerequisites to inventing…. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to think long term. You have to be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time. If you can’t do those three things, you need to limit yourself to sustaining innovation…. You typically don’t get misunderstood for sustaining innovation.”

I think most people probably underestimate how hard it is to stomach being “misunderstood for long periods of time.” Like, long periods of time.

But I agree. Determination, discipline, and stubbornness are what get good ideas out into the world.

Posted June 15, 2009 at 1:57 | Comments (1) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted


And you have to be able to assume that, in your case, the "long period of time" is infinite. That you have no innovation to contribute. And yet to persevere. Of course you have to believe that you're on to something, but you must understand that you might be mistaken, and that being mistaken would not be your "fault."

It's like genetic mutation: most innovations are flushed out of the system, permanently "misunderstood."

You have to believe in courage. And you have to be nice enough in some way that the people around you do, too.

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