"The less you know about a field, the better your odds. Dumb boldness is the best way to approach a new challenge."
-- Jerry Seinfeld to the New York Times, May 31, 2015
Lately when people interview me, they almost always ask how I pull of doing so many different things successfully. I've been a working filmmaker, photographer, programmer, designer, toy artist, children's book author, bicycle designer, entrepreneur, and most recently a co-founder of Ello.
The answer isn't obvious because it is the opposite of what you think.
It's not because I'm brilliant, talented, and fearless.
If I was talented I would have done just one thing. I've done so much stuff because I'm not.
If I was brilliant I would have known better than to start any of these projects, including Ello. I would know how close to impossible it is. But I was too stupid to know better, and that's why I was free to say "What the fuck", and try them. Experts rarely create anything new because they already know all the reasons they shouldn't.
If I was fearless I would have acted arrogantly and made a lot more mistakes along the way. Because I'm naturally scared a lot of the time (I really really want things to work out, like anyone does!), I constantly look over my shoulder all the time for the next disaster. That drives me to work harder, pay attention more of the time, and plan ahead. You can't be courageous unless you are terrified some of the time.
Weakness is strength when approached consciously, and strength is weakness if we act blindly.
Suzuki Roshi, who brought Soto Zen Buddhism to America and founded the San Francisco Zen Center, said that in the mind of the beginner there are many possibilities, but in the mind of the expert there are few.
Do your best to show up every day with an open mind, knowing nothing, even when it's clear that you're the smartest, most experienced person in the room.
That's why all of us that are here on Ello are changing the world. We're bold, focused, excited, and too dumb not to try something new.