Someone recently sent me a link to The Rules of Randomness and How You Can Stand Apart. The article is written by Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect, published by Harvard Business School Press in 1984 after an undergrad at Brown and another few years at Harvard Business. In short, he’s not a complete dummy. He’s even been on my favorite, TED.
The article is a bit blah, but there were some diamonds of interest hidden amongst the yadda yadda yadda. I thought it was food for thought so here you are:
Simply put, randomness makes us stand apart. In The Click Moment, I talk about a number of different approaches for using randomness to our advantage. Here are a few of them:
1. Increase the number of click moments in our lives. This is a lot easier than we think. Most of us, by nature, are creatures of habit. We like the familiar and avoid placing ourselves in uncomfortable positions. In a crowded room, we tend to gravitate toward the people we know, rather than striking up a conversation with a stranger. And we become so immersed in a certain path—or the momentum has driven us so far down it—that we’re unwilling to question or take our eyes off it.
Instead, change up your routine. Go to a different café. Read a magazine you otherwise never would. Talk to someone in the elevator, on the plane, or in the park—and go beyond the weather and your busy schedules. Surround yourself with people who are different from you, be it their backgrounds, their professions, their cultures. Embrace that diversity.
2. Reject the obvious path. If we do what’s logical—take the path that everyone ‘knows’ to do—we will do exactly what someone else is doing, and never stand apart. My friend Marcus Samuelsson, food activist, restaurateur, and chef-owner of Red Rooster, recounted to me how he came to be the guest chef for the White House’s state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh.
Every state dinner since 1874 has featured French-American cuisine. The White House invited 15 elite chefs, including Marcus, to present a menu for the dinner. Everyone presented a French-American menu with a meat dish, save Marcus. Knowing Prime Minister Singh is vegetarian, he presented a vegetarian menu inspired by Indian flavors. He was selected as the guest chef, and the White House broke its French-American state dinner tradition.
3. Make lots of bets—but purposefully. Pablo Picasso made over 50,000 works of art in his lifetime. The Virgin Group has launched over 400 ventures. And Rovio had developed 51 games before it scored one of the bestselling games of all time: Angry Birds. What all these successful individuals and companies had in common is that they placed many, many bets.
With over 1 billion downloads since the release of Angry Birds in 2009, Rovio appeared to have come out of nowhere to dominate gaming. As a result, people believed Rovio to be a so-called “overnight success.” But this was anything but the truth. As you now know, Rovio had developed dozens of games over the last eight years. Prior to Angry Birds, none of those games had been memorable.