With Dizzying Thoughts – Our Place In the Flock

Companies are founded on epiphanies.

It’s usually a single idea from one person or a small group of people. This idea is raised up, cleaned off, and put in a glass box.

Then that same group of people focuses on convincing: convincing each other, convincing engineers, convincing investors, convincing customers, convincing partners…

This convincing part is the most exciting, a time where everything is possible because nothing has been fully built yet.

The convincers, they’re trying to convince everyone that their idea, in its unique angularity, will fit perfectly into a mold that’s out there in a place that they’ve yet to discover. And so they begin to look for the right place and the right mold and it’s highly unlikely that they will find it so they argue over whether to change the mold or change the epiphany.

It’s much easier to change the epiphany since that’s what’s in their control, so they take it out of its box and begin to play with it to see if they can make it fit into the places they’ve already seen. Trimming and bending and twisting to get the contours right, they work quickly, afraid someone else in some other building will get it right before they do.

Some workers are more enthusiastic than others about making these changes.

Everyone has different boundaries for what they’re willing to change, and with each change, the people change too: their interest level, their commitment, their efficacy in fulfilling their role.

They’re like a row of birds leaping off a wire and flying in unison but as they begin to question the decisions of their leaders, they each follow a different bird without telling anyone. The flock fractures but still tries to fly together, meandering between chaos and uniformity, with the ambitious goal of finding a place to build their home and put their epiphany. All the while, they pass the epiphany around in their claws, still making changes.

It is a difficult task, but the sky is filled with these birds, swooping and spiraling together and apart, tired and hopeful, squawking with delight and quietly wondering with dizzying thoughts whether they’ve made the right choices.