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In order to do anything great in this world, you have to be wrong. I don’t mean actually wrong, but I mean that others will tell you you’re wrong, and you have to be okay with that. Otherwise if you only follow advice based on what most people think is right, you’ll generally get average results.
Society and the people in it tend to be a regulating force, pushing behavior towards the mean. Society doesn’t want outliers. If everyone was an outlier and didn’t follow social norms, society would break down. But outliers are also what accomplish amazing things. They’re what create progress.
The rest just ensure that the status quo continues. So when you come up with a truly amazing idea, something that isn’t just a small, obvious improvement, but a major leap forward, you have to expect people to tell you it’s a bad idea. They’ll tell you all the reasons why it won’t work and why you should give it up.
Because I teach programming, I get a lot of people who reach out to me for advice on finding a CTO or lead developer for their startup.
Most of the time, I can’t be very helpful. Unfortunately the best developers are in really high demand, so they’re likely to already be working at a well-paying job at an exciting company.
(This short essay is based on a talk I gave recently at MIT’s Future of People Conference)