We had Coda’s Block Party today, which was a day-long event announcing a bunch of the huge features we’re launching soon and hosting many thought leaders to talk about their favorite “rituals,” repeated processes which keep you or your team productive and healthy. In the final fireside chat between Shishir, our CEO, and Reid Hoffman, a legend of venture investing, Shishir talked again about the initial meeting between them and how this idea seemed crazy at the time. Specifically, this idea felt similar to how people laughed about how Youtube would take on the cable giants in the beginnings of that product. It was unthinkable that a small startup and a community of kids and hobbyists in their garages and outlier figures would capture the world’s attention over the huge stars. Now, cable companies are dying out and scrambling to connect with customers on the internet organically.
The truly society-changing, ground-shaking, future-making ideas always start as crazy ideas. To most people, these ideas will and should seem ridiculous. In order to be authentically transformative, the idea’s hypothesized future must be nonobvious but given an alignment of certain stars, becomes possible. Your job as the idea creator is to move heaven and earth to align those stars, to reshape the galaxy in a way that the million-in-one chance becomes yours to seize. The opportunity is the idea coming together in a form that seems like it has any chance of success, and a builder of the future can’t say no to that, especially not once they’ve caught the bug of relishing the proposed world of the future. When the imaginary better world captures your mind, there’s no stopping until you make that imagination a reality.
When new people recently have asked me what I look for in companies or of the kinds of things that I want to work on, this is the sort of answer I give them. These crazy ideas are what I’m obsessed with gathering. When the imaginary future aligns with my beliefs, I get boundless energy for bringing them to life. Of course there’s a lot of things that matter at the practical level: freedom in choosing my own projects and learning very broadly across functions, coworkers who are passionate and kind and stubbornly optimistic and wicked clever, hard product problems with heavy technical underpinnings. But it all comes down to whether I can fully buy into the future that the company is selling: the idea at stake. Creation is all about bringing the imaginary to life, translating a mental model into real systems and bonds and foundations. I want to focus my creative energies on the crazy ones, the ideas that make you question your fundamental assumptions about how society should feel and how we should behave. If it’s crazy to demand and fight for a utopian, unbelievable future, then I want to be the craziest of all.
This is the 64th installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here.