December 2, 2019

Nobody knows anything!

Marc Randolph borrowed the phrase from the writer William Goldmans memoir Adventures in the Screen Trade.

For every good idea, there are a thousand bad ideas it is indistinguishable from.”

You have to go out, see what works, discard the failures and build on the successes. You won’t know if it’s a hit until after you bring it to market.

Picasso produced 20,000 pieces of art (1800 paintings, 1200 sculptures, 2800 ceramics and 12000 drawings), Einstein wrote 248 papers, Dylan recorded 50 albums, Bach wrote a cantata every week, Thomas Edison filed 1093 patents, Shakespeare’s plays are a canon of approximately 39 dramatic works and 154 sonettes, Mozart composed more than 600 works and Beethoven 650, VCs fund hundreds of businesses (hell, even Richard Branson funded more than 250 companies).

You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a real princess. Those who have created the most are also the ones who have the most significant innovative impact. The probability of producing an influential or successful idea increases with the total number of ideas produced. More iterations means more variants, more perspectives and a greater chance of originality.


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