My nemesis of new ideas

A hoard of disappointed travellers were sitting in Puerto Rico airport. The flight had just been cancelled and there were no alternatives available. When a young entrepreneur took up a blackboard and wrote ”$39 One way to BVI”.

”I had a beautiful lady waiting for me in BVI” said Sir Richard Branson in retrospect to his motives on hiring a plane.

That was the first flight of Virgin Airlines but most certainly not the last.

To me the story of how Virgin Atlantic came to be is one of the most inspiring ones. I just love the rock’n roll attitude Sir Richard demonstrated that day but there is a deeper insight hidden as well.

Over the decades the Virgin empire has grown to over 20 billion euro business in travel, entertainment, lifestyle and financial sectors to mention few.

The key insight for me has been a quote that I originally heard Sir Richard say in a business conference. ”Doubt kills more dreams than failure” [1].

As a tester I had always valued the power of doubt and critical thinking. However, after getting to know the Virgin empire and Sir Richard through a few keynotes and his books, I’ve had had no other option than to revision my values.

It turned out that doubt and skepticism were things that I mostly used for hiding.

It is emotionally easier to scrutinize ideas of others than to present the ones of my own. It is far easier to watch the game on the bench and shout the instructions to others than to actually play the game. It is far easier to be the critic than to say ”Here. I made this”.

So this is what I wrote on the cover page of my new diary never to forget.

”Doubt is the enemy of new ideas.”

[1] The quote is originally from Suzy Kassem, author of the book Rise Up and Salute the Sun.