Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Startup Power

by AJ

"When you evolve out of start-up mode and start worrying about being professional and dignified, you only lose capabilities. You don't add anything... you only take away. Dignity is deadly.

--Paul Graham (via Kathy Sierra)

You can easily substitute "start-up" with "small school". Small (and new) programs have balls. Startups, to survive, must be daring. The very act of starting a new business or program is gutsy... going up against the big, monied, established monsters is not for the meek.

Small programs rarely whine about "being professional". Nor do they typically obsess over dignity. Small programs can't outspend the big-guys... so they've got to out-innovate them.

This is why I love working for my current school... and why I had such trouble at TU. TU was all about "professionalism". How I HATE that fucking word. Professionalism is corporate code for "bland, boring, obedient, and ball-less. Professionals love to say, "we've always done it this way". Professionals love to say, "we can't do that". They love the word "appropriate"... more code for obedience and the status quo.

Screw professionalism. Focus your energies on innovation. Focus on being goddam GREAT. Obsess about excellence.

Dignified professionalism is for those without the vision, or balls, to do something GREAT. Dont be one of them.