Investor Mike Maples argues that too much money causes you to pursue losing strategies for too long to the detriment of the winning strategy. Embrace the constraints of minimalism for a more creative business. Check out the video below:
Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS says the key to their success is a lack of resources. “Being comfortable can hurt your creative entrepreneurial spirit. An early and unearned sense of security can be the worst thing that can happen to a business. If you have a little money and have to bootstrap and improvise to pull things together, that becomes embedded in your company’s DNA forever – so as you scale up, you maintain the frugality and the efficiency that helped you survive your earliest days. For instance, now that TOMS is an established, successful business, we could throw resources around with a little less care than we used to, but we don’t . We still emphasize creative problem-solving and are scrupulous with our expenditures. Out culture is lean and mean – well, maybe not mean. But being creative and resourceful are skills we honed in our hungry days, and they are just as useful now. It’s an impulse that can lead to extraordinary success.”
-From his book Start Something That Matters
“Good ideas are inevitibly contstained by the parts and skills that surrond them. We have a natural tendency to romanticize breackthrough innovations, imagining mommentous ideas transcending their surroundings, a gifted mind somehow seeing over the detritus of old ideas and ossified tradition. But ideas are works of bricolage; they’re built out of that detruis. We take ideas we’ve inheritied or that we’ve stumbled across, and jigger them together into some new shape.”
-Steven Johnson, Where Ideas Come From
We generally tend to think that more freedom is always better than less, and that more choice always means more freedom. We seek to keep options open in our lives because more options mean more happiness. Every day the options expand – more choice in cars, cell phones, tv stations. We continue to operate on the assumption that because some choice is good, more choice must be better.
But, in fact, the opposite is true. Psychologically too many options leaves many of us paralyzed with indecision. And when we do manage to decide, we are often dissatisfied with even good choices because we’re convinced that a different option would have been better. Deliberately and consciously minimizing aspects of our lives can lead to more happiness.
Watch Barry Schwartz explain this Paradox Of Choice.
Things that start out as luxuries eventually become necessities in time. People in different circumstances have different needs but I think its worth looking at yourself and figuring out what you could live without – what luxury is creeping up on becoming a necessity. Then see if you couldn’t live without it.
The beautifully open and creative internet that we all love was designed, not out of sheer genius, but out of the constraints that forced it’s engineers to creatively make it work. As explained in The Master Switch by Tim WU,
“The internet’s creators, mainly academics operating within and outside the government, lacked the power or ambition to create an information empire, they faced a world in which the wires were owned by AT&T and computing was a patchwork of fiefdoms centered on the gigantic mainframe computers, each with idiosyncratic protocols and systems. Now as then, the salient reality – and one that too many observers don’t grasp or overlook – is that the internet works over an infrastructure that doesn’t belong to those using it. The owner is always AT&T. The internet founders built their unifying network around this fundamental constraint. Consequently, their network was from its beginning beholden to the power and autonomy of its owners. It was designed to link human brains, but it has no more control over the activities than that, an egalitarianism born of necessity, and one which would persist as the network grew over decades to include everyone. It was truly a first in human history: an electronic information network independent of the physical infrastructure over which it ran. The invention of the encapsulation also permitted the famous layered structure of the internet, whereby communications functions are segregated, allowing the network to negotiate the differing technical standards of various devices, media, and applications. But, again, this was an idea born not of design but of the practical necessity to link different types of networks.“
The internet’s founders were forced to be creative under the constraints of inventing a protocol that took account of the existence of many networks, over which they had limited power, and as a result of those constraints, we have the internet which has allowed for more personal expression and creativity than any other medium ever.