Over the years, working in many teams I came to realize how profoundly delusional many of the so called tech companies are. I won’t tell you about my happy and beautiful experiences because those are boring and I consider this to be a mission accomplished if you learn from my bad past experiences.
Regarding this delusional thing, I consider it essential for building a company: be delusional regarding growth, changing the world, securing investments etc. I cannot recall a single 100% realistic person having big accomplishments. Delusions are boosting up your energy levels by making you optimistic, hoping for the good and so on. Optimism (same as anxiety) is contagious. As a manager or leader you seal the company’s faith by sending anxiety or signals of indifference. So you better play optimism and tranquility, no matter what.
But there is a “but”. If you don’t support this spoiled kid called “delusion” in his way of becoming a self fulfilling prophecy, no one will trust you anymore. Therefore, no one will follow your vision, good or bad. Hoping is not a plan, just an energy level. Optimism is feeding self-confidence which is a really, really important personality trait in keeping a team with the eyes on a project. What I noticed is that most people think about self confidence as “knowing for sure that this and that will succeed” but, actually, self confidence is the attitude of dealing with whatever happens along the road.
So, every time when I’m working within a team, I wonder: is this a car service or a car factory?
Leaving the metaphor out of it, It’s easy to distinguish between a car service and a factory who’s building prototypes, focusing really hard on consumers, making 1000 blueprints before going into production etc. A factory always measures things. Building, measuring and learning ad infinitum. I imagine people wearing under their clothes, instead of superman spandex, blueprints clothes updated weekly with a Sharpie. And at the root of all, a very simple, meaningful mantra. Any mantra.
Now imagine a car service with very good mechanics. All of their lives they repaired all kinds of car brands, some of them can even describe the evolution of a certain brand, how it responded to the market and competition or can point a specific time when a brand discrowned another. All mechanics touched all the pieces, their minds mapped every working car system and their understanding is simply amazing. They can diagnose a car’s health just by the way it sounds from a mile away.
One day, a mechanic comes with this initiative of producing their own kind of car and, of course, believe they can do it better because they saw how big brands are cutting off costs by producing quality inferior body parts. Their “we can do better” is justified from many points of view and they’re encouraging each other so much, like the success is just around the corner. But they are unfamiliar with market demands, product testing, having the patience or knowledge to draw tens of sketches, discuss them openly leaving egos behind, planning, reiterating, making hypotheses, being skeptical about beliefs and embracing facts, choosing the right people, building flows and many more. In fact, you need a totally different mindset for releasing a product than repairing one. Mechanics are just familiar with cars and their parts but know nothing about making and launching a new product. They mix up familiarity with actual knowledge. And that is just the beginning of the story.
Mechanics in my story are developers and web-designers.
If they face this philosophy open minded, they might have a chance because will start asking for help. But most of them will fail. They don’t even know failing is the norm in life so they don’t give up too easily.
Any business is a mind sport. A ruthless one.
What about those who aren’t even mechanics and they think they can build and sell a car? I really cannot see bigger stupidity than that.
I’ve done this brave stupidity. I tell you, it was amazing!
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