How to go From Zero to One
Going from zero to one is the most difficult thing to achieve in the world.
It is the most difficult because it involves the creation of something new, never before seen, which in a vacuum is incredibly difficult. Furthermore, doing so adds value or creates it where there was nothing previously. It’s not as easy as invention from inspiration, it requires the creation of something completely new which adds value to a wider community of users. Creating something which people use and appreciate is the most difficult thing anyone can ever do. It’s easy to iteratively improve a product but how do you make a leap to whats next?
It’s made all the harder by the perception that all the low-hanging fruits have been picked. Technological progress has slowed as things, instead of improving and boasting new features, become thinner smaller and lighter.The days of quantum leaps forward in terms of product may be over but that does not mean that is is an impossibility.
You can go from zero to one by improving an existing product x 10. This involves reimagining and recreating it in a new image which significantly outperforms the existing model. Think Dyson with the Hoover and Apple with the iPhone. Paradigm shifts can occur in existing industries. New old products can be created that are so much better than the existing it is the equivalent of lapping the field.
In order to ascertain what possibilities and opportunities you are it requires contrarian thinking. You must view the world through a lens uncoloured by historical precedent. You must understand not where things have been but where they are going. That is why experience in a specific field is not necessary. It is why individuals can burst onto the scene with no experience and produce something which has never previously been conceived.
The lack of expertise instead of being a burden is a tremendous boon. It enables the creator to envisions and imagines without reliance on existing methods. Instead of being handcuffed to the past the reality is the creation of something new. Innovation occurs on the edges arising from a cross-pollination of ideas between multiple industries.
Genesis can be borrowed and altered. Reinterpretation of existing technologies in new fields often leads to going from zero top one. Look at GPRS which was a government technology gifted to the private sector. The innovation and idea generation that occurred thereafter was only afforded by entrepreneurship. It involved standalone individuals utilising the technology in whatever way they envision.
The possibility of the new technology was not limited by the constraints of traditional convention. They were free from the weights of product past which prevented new thinking. The potential for progress is limited only by a lack of imagination. If you can look and see something new you can invent the future. You can appreciate the idiosyncracies of life and utilise what you have at your disposal to create something new.
And that is the critical path. Experts are too close to the product to imagine anything else. They have grown accustomed to a specific way of doing things and grown cold to the possibility of trying something new. They can’t even conceptualise alternative lines of thinking because it becomes offensive. It is why new ideas are rejected and criticised. If you’re not being criticised or mocked your new idea is not radical enough.
To truly move the needle you need to be criticised. You need to make non-believers of the industry experts. They need to question your idea or you will become one of them. By being criticised you become something they will never be, dangerous. Danger is essential to the creation of something new. By remaining on the periphery, you can move quickly and break things. You can improve and grown.
‘No, no, no. A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can be destroyed, or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can’t stop you, then you become something else entirely. You can become legend.’
What is true for batman is also true for new products. you can become an ideal by devoting yourself to something new. Throw out the rules and create something. Rules prevent, they were designed for adherence and the prevention of discovery. Try things and fail. Understand and develop. Learn and create.
Rules are the antithesis of creation. Creativity occurs in the cracks, it occurs in the dark where nobody sees or cares. Regulation is for mass production. To change the world you need to reject the status quo and rebel against what other people claim to know.
Become the zeitgeist and alter the course of history or sit back and watch the world burn.