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Driven By Fear

Brian Crain
Brian Crain
1 min read

Today, I looked through the book trailer presentation for Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman.

It's a wonderful (or horrifying) illustration of the prevalent mindset of the startup world. Some excerpts are:

  • "Sudden, all-out effort"
  • "It's do or die with either success or failure in a remarkably short time."
  • "Gut-wrenching uncertainty. High risk of failure. Painful difficulty"

The basic message is that change is coming at an ever-increasing rate. You have to constantly adapt and move as fast as possible, otherwise you get destroyed. But if you do and instead destroy the competition, you can be a billionaire too like Hoffman.

I am fully caught in the midst of this way of thinking too. Maybe it is the way to build a great company. But it almost inevitably results in a deep sense of constant stress. And I'm far from alone here. It's rare for me to meet a person who doesn't seem to operate this way.

Right now, this mindset is spreading far beyond tech/startups. Isn't populism a reaction of people who increasingly feel obsolete? They could join Hoffman and start their all-out sprint to stay one step ahead. Or, understandably, hope they world can change instead, however hopeless that seems.

For my part, I do not think this mindset will serve humanity well. We have to find some way to translate increased material wealth into a greater sense of ease and contentment. To create from a place of joy instead of fear.