To achieve great things, two things are needed: A plan and not quite enough time. ~ Leonard Bernstein
I heard this Bernstein quote yesterday, but it didn’t sink in until the subconscious pulled it up to conscious. It’s plain awesome that this great American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer and pianist knew the value of running out of time. We all need a deadline to create the sense of urgency that fosters achievement. The show must go on, sometimes whether it’s ready or not. Powerful. It forces great things. It causes huge goofs, too. But we learn from our errors and achieve greatness because and in spite of them.
For starters, if you want to find out more about Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, head over to the TED Talk for a recent interview. Otherwise, stand back to witness the future unfold before your very eyes.
I hear you from all the way over here in my blog cave. You’re saying, “Hah! Auto-piloted cars will never work.” And that’s what they said about toilet paper, airplanes, cordless phones (not to mention cell phones), and anything else that wasn’t here until it was.
The really cool part is that the visionaries that define these types of futures are “scientists” (or at least champions of the scientific method) and dreamers all rolled into one. The Wright Brothers come to mind. Benjamin Franklin. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. John Lasseter of Pixar. (Is he a scientist or just a dreamer?)
Medical scientists do not radiate the pizazz of an electric car or a cell phone or an airplane, but they are visionaries all the same. Example: People rarely die of infections any more thanks to Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin back in 1928. His claim to fame was that he paused to consider a fuzzy Petri dish on a vacation-neglected workbench. Visionary indeed.
Thank goodness we still have these folks in our midst. We are lucky to have people that believe they can do what they set out to do, and that they don’t give up.
I like to believe that you and I have the vision to stay out of their way.
Did you read that IBM has made a movie? It’s called “A Boy and His Atom” and it’s a 90-second tribute to science, creativity, and (re)invention. IBM was the lumbering pachyderm star from the book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. written over eleven years ago now. The book was a testament to the fact that people and companies can change, even if they’re big and slow.
So what’s best about the movie? It doesn’t really have a lot to do with computing, but rather to do with science, trying something new, and putting it out into the world. Because they can.
So put something creative out into the world. Because you can.
I will if you will.