These are people who have been beaten, and burned, and raped, and shot, and hanged because they stood up for their own basic dignity. Not people asking to take something from someone else. Not people threatening harm. People asking for an equal right to vote, to have freedom from violence, access to education and housing, and the right to make a living.
The story of quartz watches offers a provocative lesson. Seiko’s engineers pulled off a remarkable feat, but it’s hard to argue that it was ten times harder than squeezing out a marginal 10% improvement in mechanical movement. As Google X’s Astro Teller says, “it’s often easier to make something 10x better than it is to make it 10% better.” ⁵ That counterintuitive observation recognizes that finding another 10% means using existing tools and assumptions. The same tools and every other Swiss watchmaker was putting effort, resources, and money behind. 10x improvements lean on bravery and creativity. Not so much thinking outside the box as flipping the box over.
I came to the US from India 22 years ago. I was fortunate enough to gain entry to a university here, and time after time, I saw that hard work opened other doors. I have built a career and a family and a life here. And I’ve felt as much a part of this country, as I felt growing up in India.