Moments of Inspiration

Very cool Wired piece that briefly describes how people like Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Napster’s Shawn Fanning, and others had their moments of inspiration that led to the creation of their companies/innovations.

My personal favorite is Grandmaster Flash’s moment:

“The DJs at the time were picking up the arm and dropping it down exactly on the break of the song. But I was dancing, and I noticed everybody’s head was bobbing at the same time, and then suddenly everyone’s heads would go into disarray, and then come back together again. I found this to be very strange. From that moment, I decided to come up with a science that would allow me to have full control to manually edit the beat. I came up with the science called the Quick Mix theory. It consisted of me having to do something that DJs at the time never did: placing my fingertips on the vinyl. I was ridiculed for a long time. I was told that I ruined needles, ruined styluses, ruined records, and also that placing my fingers on the vinyl was something DJs never did because I’d make the record filthy. But I knew that I had to do it to have full control over the vinyl.”

It’s important to recognize that these moments occur at seemingly odd (but, in hindsight, understandable) times. The key, I think—as it is for songwriting—is to have your antenna up all the time; constantly be thinking and receptive, constantly be alert and inquisitive.

If you’re interested in these types of “creation” stories, you should check out the book Founders At Work, by Jessica Livingstone. In fact, you can read it online for free, via Google Book Search.

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