Several weeks ago, my friend and I were both talking about the nature of starting businesses. He mentioned a thought he sent me some thoughts:
Companies are both constructive and destructive forces. When a business creates a new way of looking at the world, it destroys the old to bring in the new. One brainstorm path is to ask which things you have an inner desire to destroy.
There is a bit of risk in setting out to destroy something big. However, this vision may be the most inspiring over the long-term. Think GNU’s GPL and how it has gathered many minds into its vision, so that even ardent capitalists like me have come to almost expect there to be free software of every genre.
This theme is not new – just ask the journalism industry what Google/Craigslist is doing to newspaper sales. Google and Craigslist didn’t actively set out to destroy the newspaper industry, so much as provide a better way of accessing information and classified ads.
When we are starting a business, we spent most of our time building, adding, and creating. Sometimes though, we should be consciously thinking about disassembling, subtracting, and destroying. Maybe not only removing the things we’ve built, but also looking outside our company to see how we can destroy obstacles others are facing in their lives. Most of the time something is destroyed in the process of solving a problem in a new way. Identifying what is being destroyed can help us solve the problem better.
So whether you’re starting a company or working in an existing one, if you’re creating something new, have you thought about what you’re destroying and why?
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Sure. I destroy my sense of worthlessness and hopelessness, my fears of failure, and then, one can hope, other people’s fears of love, of creativity, of death. I make stuff and destroy minutes while my X-acto knife destroys a sheet of cardboard and my fingers destroy skin cells at their tips. I like to destroy stories by telling them. I like to destroy dreams by dreaming them.