It's time to abandon all processes. creative chaos is the RX
I think I have everything figured out. Really. No, I mean it. I think I know how to get the economy back on uppers, you know. Get us all feeling that feeling again. I know how to get the business world high. I'm ready. Are you?
Okay, stick with me here.
Think THEN, circa 1999-2001. What were we doing? Flying by the seat of our pants. Pumping stuff out--stuff, you know--be it code, product, software, architecture, white papers, corporate brochures that made it look like a company actually existed, articles on things we knew nothing about, business cards with three different company names on it, titles that came from fortune cookies--STUFF. Remember?
Whatever we pumped out, we pumped it out fast. It wasn't always great. Yes, that could be construed as a problem. But I don't think it was. And we need to get back there.
The point is, the difference between now and then (and don't give me the money argument--enough of us are still gainfully employed (she looks over her shoulder) for that not to hold water. put money aside for now...)--and yes, I'm rambling because I'm excited--the most important difference between now and then is s-p-e-e-d.
We ran. We didn't walk. It didn't matter if it was right, it mattered that it was done, out the door, in someone else's hands. We all exchanged things at lightning speed.
Process took a back seat to NOW.
Process? We didn't care. You sat in a meeting where the client told you they needed 12 separate brochures, 2-4 pages each--copy/design/production--in just over two weeks, don't give me a plan and a scope and a content map; just do it. 10,000 of each, please. No, we don't have a logo. No we don't really know what we do yet. And no, we don't have a name--can you do that too? And you looked across the table at your cohorts. And you all got jazzed at the challege (not exhausted like now), and you knew it meant money, and you said, "Okay."
Many of you will want to pull the money thing back into the equation here. Don't. In the begining of it all, the money wasn't there yet. And we started running because we believed. Then the money came. And then it got absurd. But in the beginning--when the match hit the flint--the problem of funding was no different than it is right now.
So, you pumped out what the customer wanted, and you did it FAST, and it looked fan-fucking-tastic, and you got really sassy with the voice, with the writing, with the software, because you could. You had free reign. The only parameters were: get it done fast and make it look and sound like we're for real.
If we all believe we're for real, then we're for real.
For three years we all ran. Didn't walk. We ran ourselves into a new reality. We tossed process out the window and followed our guts.
Specialists didn't do well. Generalists ran this race. You had to be able to do everything. And do it fast. Remember? (and how out of practice are you now?)
I remember the business process freaks having heart attacks. Even knowledge management folks got knocked into the ditch, or the Coke machine, by those of us running back and forth to the printer, to the VCs, to the white board to draw more dreams we could turn into reality within the week.
Then we hit a bump. Then we paniced. Then we accepted that we should WAIT for things to improve.
Since the day BushCo took over, they have had us waiting. Waiting for war, waiting for tax breaks, waiting for a rebound. WAITING. This has been one long administration of wait and see. Talk tough, go nowhere.
Fuck waiting. Screw processes. We've slow-paced the entire market into the shitter. And it has to stop.
I say that the days of buckling down and get our processes in order are over. I say we aren't going to put our ties on. We're going back to t-shirts. We're going to stop caring about what we wear again, what we say, and who we say it to. We're going to allow ourselves to create and we're going to do it so fast that the first thing we create is chaos.
I propose this. For the next two months, every blogger start churning out stuff as fast as you can, just like it mattered again.
I don't care what you churn out. I don't even care if you think it matters. If you don't have any real work to do at work, if your customers won't let you invent because they're afraid, if you're stuck on one long engagement where there isn't money to do anything well, if you're busy shoring up business processes so the business runs smooth as silk and costs are contained and resources are adequately utilized and you get five fucking stars on your forehead for doing a good job, Bobby, well then STOP IT! This isn't who you are. And if it is, will you please go on vacation and get out of our way?
Please start running again.
Put your sneakers back on, start dreaming, start believing, start working really fast and not caring what you churn out first or next because eventually something really beautiful and important is going to pour out of you, and the faster you work the faster it's going to pour out.
Light your own fire.
Don't WAIT another second.
And if you start scaring them--if you go to your boss and say, I just built this, and she asks, why? you tell her why, and if she doesn't use it, or like your attitude, then you remember exactly how you did it and go back and do the next thing even faster. IF you can't do it at work--then do it here. If you blog, then blog as fast as you can, as much as you can, for as long as you can. Don't worry about what, just start writing, start running.
If you write books, write more of them; if you write software, then write something completely simple and stupid and get it done fast, and then do it again. I don't care what you do--just please start doing it faster, for the next eight weeks.
If we all start running really fast, we can pull the fucking economy along with us. I know we can.
And our brothers and sisters who are out of work will have jobs again, even if those jobs are fixing what we've messed up (remember, we did a lot of that when things were good), and all of a sudden, companies won't understand what's happening. The CEO's going to stop in the hallway and say, "Why's that guy running--what's he photocopying, what project is he on?" And no one will know the answer, and by the time they get around to actually asking the guy who's running, he'll be done and on to the next thing.
It doesn't matter if no one's buying it right now. Do it anyway. It doesn't matter if you have permission. Do it anyway.
The shere momentum of us is what matters.
Fight on, entropy. Are you with me?
On your mark, get set, GO!!!!!!!!!!!