From The Ground Up

Fwd: Engineering, startups and life

Imagination Is The Beginning Of Creation

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Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.

— George Bernard Shaw

Pushing the vision of a startup forward is tough sledding. Inevitably undermanned and underfunded, small teams haul long hours just to scrap and claw towards legitimate product/market fit, in a market environment that can change between sunset and sunrise. Identifying what we know (known knowns) and identifying what needs to be better understood (known unknowns) are challenging enough. Startups are most often competing against their own lack of understanding (of the technology, the market, the product, the customer, etc, etc) — unknown unknowns. We battle everyday to achieve this understanding and focus.

I think the push forward towards this understanding is a balance between thoughtful creativity and cold, hard execution.

Delivering creativity is not an overnight project. Ideation requires both deep thought as well as subconscious rumination over time (“sleeping on it”). Deep thought itself relies on questioning (of the problem, of the status quo) and an intermingling of convergent (focused) and divergent (“out of the box”) thinking. By attacking a problem from all sides, a foundation is set in the mind to understand better the universe of possibilities.

Then, after thinking deeply about a problem, often the best thing to do is to forget completely the problem at hand, and come back to it a few hours or a few days later. It has happened to me on many occasions that a path towards a solution suddenly presents itself while groggily standing in the shower and resources are marshaled to act on this new found enlightenment.

Which brings me to my second facet, execution. I believe execution at its core is owning attention to details. Building something from nothing, into that which did not exist previous to your endeavors and pushing it towards fruition is a monumental undertaking, against the inertia of nature.  Execution means understanding every tiny step required to take the product/business from A to ZZZ, knowing what resources will be needed to achieve each one of those tiny steps, and being able to measure the success of each individual step. When each man on a team personally commits to this attention to detail, the team executes and pushes forward as one.

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Written by Girish Rao

June 6, 2011 at 01:15

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] The second part to this is of course execution – having the chutzpah, conviction and guts to convert your idea into a product that people will buy. Bloggers/entrepreneurs love talking about this but I leave this aspect for a future post, although I have touched on it here. […]


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