On being in and out of line
Being in line is about the mastery of replication: performing the same acts with the same tools to produce the same things.
Being out of line is about regularly starting from scratch: it’s an iterative and sometimes clunky process that experiments with different tools to produce different things — some more valuable and interesting than others.
For a production line, where the goal is to produce the same thing as quickly as possible, being out of line poses an obvious and measurable threat.
For creative work, being out of line is an asset: it is only when you are out of line, when you are not in the business of making identical widgets, that the creation of something new, valuable and potentially culture-changing is possible.
If the people you aim to serve have an unmet need it’s because what’s currently being produced isn’t working. Meeting the need therefore demands that you produce a new way, to produce a new way requires that you work out of line.