“Being negative is not how we make progress.” – Google’s Larry Page, Google I/O Conference, 5/15/13
Yesterday, Facebook friend Dave Morin (brainy CEO of Path), posted a quote from Larry Page’s May 15th Google I/O 2013 presentation. Larry Page’s quote: “Being negative is not how we make progress.”
No disrespect to Larry Page (he’s a smart guy), but that’s myth disproved by mountains of scientific research. Being negative can actually be healthy (both personally and professionally) and propel progress. Martin Seligman’s University of Pennsylvania research found that optimism can prevent people from seeing reality with necessary clarity and foster complacency. A University of Waterloo study found that negative thinking can improve your finances. University of Chicago research found that negative feedback inspired experienced professionals to strive harder than positive feedback. A European study of 40,000 people found that being overly optimistic was associated with a higher risk of disability and death.
Illustrious innovator and inventor Thomas Edison agreed.
“Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” – Thomas Edison
“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.” – Thomas Edison
Does being negative kill progress? No. A healthy dose of pessimism can motivate you go out there and make it happen. Other biz “taboos” with surprising benefits: renegade thinking, rewarding failure, creative destruction, team competition, productive friction, and collaboration with competitors.
No hard feelings, Larry Page. Your dad was a computer science professor at MSU and I’m a loyal Spartan.
Earlier today, Groupon fired CEO Andrew Mason. Mason posted his exit letter publicly, noting that it would eventually be leaked to the press anyway.
Mason’s letter begins:
“You become what you disrupt.”
The Dave McClure / 500 Startups “#UNSEXY CONFERENCE” is breaking buzz sound barriers today. Many tweeps are retweeting a meme quipped during one of today’s sessions by Jesse Robbins, CEO of Opscode / O’Reilly Radar contributor / and Co-Chair of the Velocity Conference. The quote? “You Become What You Disrupt.”
Jesse Robbins originally advanced this theory in 2007. Back then, he used Skype to illustrate his point. Alas, the glory days of Skype are long over. Skype has had its share of problems and it only gets worse (it lacks context, it’s de facto illegal in many countries, and overwrought with bugs, crashes, patches, and fixes). But back then, Jesse upheld Skype as a shining star example and declared, “you become what you disrupt.”
Disruption is temporal. You don’t become what you disrupt. You become what you sustain. Disruption by no means equals sustainable success. You may successfully disrupt but fail to be successful. Disruption creates an opportunity to become something else *OR* flame out quickly. You are creating a space for evolution. And unless your company is prepared, poised and perfectly positioned for EVOLUTION — pursuing unmitigated disruption and revolution will merely accelerate your path to failure. Laurence Capron’s recent research proves what we already know instinctively: business survival depends on differentiated products and services, multifaceted growth strategies, and management leadership capabilities.
A few poignant stories:
Yesterday Innovation Excellence (@IXCHAT) announced their Top 50 Innovation Tweeters. The list includes 50 prolific innovation practitioners who are active on Twitter. RE:INVENTION, inc. congratulates those honored. Out of sheer curiosity, RE:INVENTION has created a snapshot profile of those honored – with Klout Scores, Twitter Follower count, and hyperlinks to their Tweets. The average Klout score of those honored: 44.7. The TOTAL number of Twitter followers for those included in Innovation Excellence’s Top 50: 562,548*. One honored tweep – entrepreneur/intrepreneur Julian Keith Loren (@jkloren) — accounts for nearly 40% (217,931) of total Twitter followers among the Top 50.
A Profile of the 2012 Innovation Excellence Top 50 Innovation Tweeters
Eight years have passed since we won “Honorable Mention – Best Small Business Blog” in the first annual MarketingSherpa Blog Awards. This week we’re back to blogging with fresh perspective. We plan to use this new blog to take a stand on “innovate or perish.” To answer naysayers who suggest that most companies lack the capacity to be innovative. Why? Well, because we believe that America is inherently innovative. That American business is innovative. That the world is innovative. And that with the right tools, process, discipline, commitment, and vision any company can be innovative. Yet 33% of all new businesses fail in the first six months. Eight out of ten tank in the first three years. And according to the Journal of Product Innovation Management, for every 7 new product ideas, 1.5 are launched, and only 1 succeeds.
Clearly there are some big hurdles to idea implementation and innovation. Avoiding premature idea strangulation (gasp!) starts with analyzing potential pitfalls.
Yes – smart folks have talked about some of these issues in isolation, but rarely if ever inclusively and if so inadequately. So, how does innovation get stymied? Why do good ideas fail? Here are 10 reasons (our inclusive checklist):
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