Having seen the movie Social Network, I have been mulling over the thought.
Divya Narendra, son of an Indian immigrant doctor couple was a part of the movie. He was involved in the courtroom battle with the world’s youngest billionaire and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
“I spent almost one year developing the concept to build what was then called HarvardConnection.com. When I heard about Mark for the first time in the fall of 2003, he seemed like a natural fit. 3 months later, Facebook launched. Mark took the credit and the magical zeroes that came along. All the effort I had put into my vision had been taken away. If only I was faster,” says Narendra.
Jo Jeeta wahi Sikander?
In all probability, if Narendra had been faster he would be in Mark’s shoes - a billionaire. According to Mark, hacking is not a bad word. It’s a compliment for building things very quickly and the prime directive to Facebook team is, ‘Move fast and break things.’
When I say Faster, I am not referring to the Tillman feature film or to George Harrison song. The reference is to the twenty-first century mantra – Faster.
There was a time when leisurely contemplation – unfettered from the routine race was responsible for moving the world. Archimedes figured out his theory of water displacement while soaking in a bath tub. James Watt conceptualized steam locomotion while day dreaming and watching the kettle boil. But that was then. Had they waited, some Indian or Chinese chap would come out with it first.
Speed trumps everything in the present age of competitiveness. Yes it does. No it doesn’t? Ask the performing machines (aspirants) of the competitive entrance exams. Many have the ability to crack the mind boggling set of questions. But the fastest ones enter the hallowed precincts. Fastest finger first rules.
Since our attention spans are decreasing by the day, we have learnt to rush, not to wait.Like sheep to slaughter, we become victims of the mad race to be the first ones to get a nursery admission, to top the class, to win the most desirable girl, to make the first million…..Be the first, be the fastest… Mortified kids keep running frantically as parents psyche them into winning. You then scratch your head and wonder, whatever happened to slow and steady wins the race?
Call me all kinds of names, if you wish - looser, lazybones…whatever. I prefer old-fashioned laid-back lifestyle. Maybe I don't want to reach the ostensible pinnacle of life. And I am not proud of the fact. But then, when most are psyched into winning someone has to enjoy the run? In any way I am not implying that ambition is unwarranted. Ambition is a great driver. Only the hopeless infatuation to win, snatches the opportunity to enjoy the small miracles of life.
Indeed, the topic is very subjective. I was reading an article by Peter Horan, who says that being a smart second can be a very profitable strategy. Forget the first mover advantage. Let the first mover make all the mistakes and jump in when the first one is financially and emotionally drained. While the early bird might catch the worm, the second mouse gets the cheese. (The first one gets trapped silly).
Winning in life is not always about, having the most and the best. It is also about being happy with what you have. So while you are hurriedly climbing up the ladder, remember why you are climbing up in the first place.