Scott Cook co-founded tax software giant Intuit more than 30 years ago when Silicon Valley entrepreneurship was just getting started. When it comes to business and technology, one could say he’s seen it all. Luckily, he’s hardly shy about his views regarding business, so it’s possible to learn a lot from him.
But, you say, I’m not an owner of a technology business. I just go about living a simple life just like the vast majority of people. What could business experience and knowledge give my life more depth and meaning? How could it help me love a profound life?
“I have come to the conclusion that network effects are the most profound idea I have encountered in my entire career,” Cook said of his experience during the early battle between online giants such as eBay, Yahoo and Amazon for ecommerce supremacy.
Speaking of this profound idea, he said, “Content has been a curse. It causes you to think you can make what’s going to delight customers. It causes you to ignore user contributions. It causes you to focus on your own content rather than on how to get the best content in the world — content anyone can make.”
Here are some thoughts as to how this profound idea can be used to create a profound life.
• Imagine that you constantly run into people who are smarter, better looking and more athletic than you. It doesn’t seem as if you could ever be as successful in life as they are. But, you can! Simply look for opportunities to network with other people, to surround yourself with quality people who will allow you to learn from them and become more than you could ever be alone. The strength of a well-crafted personal network will almost always overwhelm the strength of a single individual. It’s not who you are today that matters. What matters is your desire and ability to increase, and learn from, your connections with others.
• One of the biggest challenges in life is keeping up with a rapidly changing world. Conventional wisdom says that we need to work much harder just to keep up and not drown in change. But surrounding yourself with quality people, will allow you to relax and move forward with collective knowledge. This will give you a better chance of effectively dealing with continuous change and personal mistakes.
• You can create your own network of helpful people. It’s tempting to fall into the trap of believing that that you have little control over the creation of a network. But you do! Today’s world offers astounding opportunity.
Years ago, I wanted to grow Kentucky Coffee trees from seed, but I could never get them to germinate. Finally, in frustration, I got on the internet to search for information. While searching, I came across a Kentucky Coffee Tree expert at a university in the southeastern United States. I reached out to him for help and was stunned when he responded personally. He graciously gave time and effort that allowed me to germinate more than one dozen seeds.
Imagine the amazing network you can create by focusing on your areas of interest. People like to offer their help and knowledge to others. Let them help you. Luckily, most people are hardly shy about sharing their life views and expertise, so it’s possible to learn a lot from them.
But, you say, I’m not the smartest, most attractive or most athletic person on the planet. I just go about living a simple life just like the vast majority of people. How could I ever live a profound life? What could I do to give my life more depth and meaning?
Focus on using the profound idea of Network Effects.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.