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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

Please climb that tree


Most schools and colleges today teach us to climb one tree - follow instructions well, understand what is expected of you, present what the teacher already knows as answers, get good grades, repeat the process to get into a good college, and repeat the process to get a job at a good company, and repeat the process with your boss there to get a promotion. The happy life. One that most of us are desperately chasing today.

Only the world and the job market are turning out to be a lot more like the jungle. The jungle, where you don't have to learn to climb a tree to survive. You just need to learn to find food for yourself and to stay out of the way of predators. It doesn't matter if you do it by flying in the sky or by climbing a tree or by swimming in the river or by being big enough to fell trees.

You just need to find your own way of adding value to the ecosystem. This is the popular advice that you find on the Internet nowadays, coming from the likes of Seth Godin and James Altucher - Choose Yourself. If you are waiting to be chosen by someone, you are probably taking part in several 'fair selections' as in the pic above, and end up like the fish wondering why everyone else is so much better at climbing a tree and beat yourself up about having to put in your ten thousand hours before you get good at climbing the tree. The monkey has been putting in it's ten thousand hours since the day it was born. You're never going to be better at climbing the tree no matter how many hours you put in.

Unless you do it differently. So differently that you end up making the monkey wonder how it can get as good as you - the fish - at climbing the tree.

That's what Amazon did with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The monkeys that had been climbing trees all their lives, the likes of HP and IBM who were dominant players in selling servers, were left wondering how to get as good as Amazon, a retailer that ended up overthrowing their business model.

The selection is fair after all, even when everyone is asked to climb the tree. Just that there are no rules on how to climb it. The moment you realise this, you realise that you don't have to master climbing the tree like the monkey does, you just need to find your own way of doing it.

Or better yet, find the host of other things that you can do in the wide jungle that is full of opportunity. Don't be the non-monkey trying to climb the tree. Do something that only you can do in the jungle.

Choose yourself.

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