The Major Thinkers

Explaining Who is Actually Behind Innovation. (my brutally honest opinion) Spoiler: They are not Managers and Talkers.

Antonio Scapellato

Antonio Scapellato

September 21 20236 min read

The Major Thinkers

The Major Thinkers: Exploring the Forces Behind Innovation (My Brutally Honest Opinion)

My goal with this article is to delve into and reflect upon one of the most crucial aspects of innovation.

"The Doers Drive Innovation"

"I have a great idea for a startup! A new social/app/ai/crypto... But I have no idea what a line of code is, let's find some cheap developer and let's change the world."

People expressing such sentiments are, in my opinion, entirely wrong. From idea conception to product shipping and iterating for years, there are numerous layers of craftsmanship involved; the doer is the real innovator. To those expressing the desire to start a software startup, my advice is simple: Learn to code. Understand all the technical knowledge behind your idea.

As a premise, I will quote Steve Jobs on the term "The Major Thinkers" and its inner meaning.

"Did Leonardo have a guy off to the side thinking 5 years into the future about what he would paint and what technology he would use to paint? Of course not! Leonardo was the artist, but he also mixed his own paints." - Steve Jobs

Original Steve Jobs Interview - 1990

In the dynamic world of technology and entrepreneurship, the journey from ideation to execution is a challenging path paved with both successes and failures. Having spent over 15 years in this industry, I've witnessed the ebb and flow of ideas, the triumphs of innovation, and the inevitable setbacks that come with pushing boundaries. Through my experiences, I've come to a profound realization: the major thinkers in this industry are often the ones who seamlessly blend thinking and doing.

Reflecting on the great minds of history, such as Leonardo da Vinci, it becomes evident that true innovation stems from individuals who embody both the role of thinker and doer. Da Vinci wasn't just an artist; he was also a scientist, a chemist, and a visionary who merged art and science to create exceptional results. The fusion of thinking and doing is the secret sauce that transforms ideas into tangible, groundbreaking contributions.

In the realm of technology and entrepreneurship, Apple stands as a prime example of an organization that thrives on the synergy of thinking and doing. The company's success can be attributed to its commitment to simplicity, focus, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. As Steve Jobs once said, "We try to focus and do very few things well." This focus requires saying no to numerous opportunities, emphasizing the importance of choosing where to direct intellectual energy.

At the heart of Apple's ethos lies the recognition that the doers are the major thinkers. It's not merely about claiming credit for an idea but navigating the intricate intellectual challenges that arise during the execution phase. The metaphor of a team working passionately on a project, akin to a rock tumbler polishing stones through friction, captures the essence of collaborative efforts leading to refined outcomes.

In the landscape of entrepreneurship, perseverance emerges as a defining trait that separates the successful from the unsuccessful. As Jobs pointed out, about half of the battle is pure perseverance. The journey of building something great is arduous, demanding long hours, and unwavering dedication. It requires passion for the idea or problem at hand, acting as the driving force that sustains one through the challenges.

The concept of risk is also central to the entrepreneurial spirit. Jobs emphasized the importance of embracing risk when you have nothing to lose. Starting Apple at a young age with minimal personal responsibilities allowed him and his co-founder, Steve Wozniak, to take risks without fear of catastrophic consequences. This mindset underscores the idea that time is the most valuable asset, and investing it in enriching experiences can lead to immeasurable gains.

Reflecting on the evolution of Apple, Jobs acknowledged the necessity of a visionary who serves as the keeper and reiterator of the company's vision. In the face of challenges and uncertainties, the leader becomes the guiding force, reminding the team of the ultimate goal and encouraging them to persevere.

Finally, the notion of finding and cultivating A players in a team is a hallmark of successful organizations. The dynamic range between average and the best in software and hardware is significant, and assembling a team of A players creates a self-policing environment where excellence becomes the norm.

The major thinkers in the world of technology and entrepreneurship are those who seamlessly blend thinking and doing. The success of individuals and organizations hinges on the ability to navigate the challenges, embrace risk, persevere through difficulties, and cultivate a team of exceptional talent. As we continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what's possible, let us remember that the true magic lies in the harmonious dance between thinking and doing.

Technology InnovationEntrepreneurial JourneyIdeation to ExecutionBlending Thinking and DoingSuccess and FailureInnovation in HistoryLeonardo da Vinci's LegacyApple's Entrepreneurial SuccessSteve Jobs' LeadershipFocus and ExcellencePerseverance in EntrepreneurshipEmbracing RiskTime as a Valuable AssetVisionary LeadershipTeam DynamicsA Players in OrganizationsExcellence as the NormNavigating ChallengesSuccess in Technology IndustryThinking and Doing in Harmony

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