From birth we have been wired to believe that the people who know the most, the ones who work the hardest, the ones who are the best in their field are the ones bound for success. But that is rarely the truth, because it is never really about what you know but rather who knows what you know that matters.
You could be the very best at your job, but if your manager is not aware that you are the best at what you do, you will get stuck. And many people get stuck but they don’t know why. They swear they have the best cupcakes in town but nobody is buying, they know they have the most awesome manuscript in the world but no publisher is biting, they know they are the most kick-ass worker at their job but no promotion. So what do they do? They try and be better.
They bake sweeter cupcakes, write better manuscripts, put in extra hours at their job hoping that somebody will notice. But nothing. In fact they watch other people with inferior products and subpar performance surpass them. They curse their luck and try and become even better…they go to culinary school, go to creative writing classes, get a PhD…but nothing really happens. Because it’s never been about what you know…
Steve Wozniak was definitely the best at what he did; he invented the Apple I the first ever computer system to display on a home television. Or so we are told, we don’t really know who was the first ever to design a computer system that displayed on a home television. It could have been another geeky kid in a another geeky garage, but that does not matter. Because Wozniak met Jobs. Without Jobs apple will still probably just be a fruit.
Jobs called investor after investor; telling them about Wozniak’s invention. Despite several rejections he kept at it until they convinced Mike Markkula to see their invention…and the rest is history. They could have decided to build an even better computer system much faster and sexier. But they understood that they needed to find someone who knew what they had invented.
That was 1976…today the ‘who’ has expanded…we don’t have to depend on a few people to know what we can do, we are now in the age of the crowd. Where the crowd decides. Blogs have replaced traditional publishers, youtube has replaced record labels and kickstarter has replaced venture capitalists.
Today we can create products and make noise about it with the web and people will listen if it is good. Today, we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines hoping that someone will notice us. We have to take it to the people that matter, because the more people that know about what you can do the better your chances of success. Make noise about yourself today!