the power of see

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Momentum is interesting. The change of it really. Most interesting is how some can see it change before others. Some see 2 and 2 and get 8 while everybody else is getting 4. It’s in this horserace with racehorse Mine That Bird. The only people surprised by this 2nd biggest Kentucky derby upset are us. Jockey Calvin Borel wasn’t.

I’ve said before that technological expertise—which we chase hard—is ultimately a commodity. It doesn’t differentiate. The horses in this race have lots of similarities. Some share DNA. The people behind them and jockey riding them are the differentiators. The vision, values, preparation and strategy going around the stretch are differentiating. The relationship between the horse and jockey is differentiating. The leadership under which a racehorse’s physical assets are called upon—managed and trained and exercised and motivated and led—is the differentiator.

It’s true in business. Engineers and programmers and developers abound. There’s no technology or expertise deficit really. But it’s not where value rests. Value is in the seers: Who noticed the momentum change in this race? Clearly, not the narrator. Yet this change was the most remarkable thing about the whole race. Anybody paying attention could see it. There was even this beautiful hint of history for any who thought Borel was lucky.

Right questions are: on what are you focused; at the expense of seeing what; who do you value; and is the path you see exactly that beheld by all others. Distinction isn’t in the obvious trek.  Value isn’t. It’s in the difference-makers who see 8 instead of 4, it’s in non-replicable teams, it’s in the simultaneously personal and shared vision under which teams labor forward, and it’s in people who see. Seers see pathways, talent, synergies and stratagems that others don’t. They can see stuff that won’t work too–they’re great debuggers. But they see routes to success not laid out by custom, education, “best practices”, or popular culture. They invent. They’re awake. They build things. They get there first.

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