Why intuition is more disruptive than spreadsheets

A lot of companies have shareholders to work for — that makes stocks their ultimate product. That’s not the case for Evan Spiegel and Elon Musk so far which makes them navigate a lot more on intuition.

This month saw Elon Musk visioning living on Mars and running public transport in space. And a little more earthly Snapchat actually entered a new space. Two very different projects but build on some of the same ingredients in the race for new ideas.

Snapchat or just plain Snap as the company is now called surprised most people when it introduced its first hardware bet The Spectacles. Yes, sunglasses with build in camera to connect with your Snapchat account.

The move made the company change not only its name but also its mission quite a bit. It’s now a camera company with an eye for Snap. Not a social media based on Chat. So once again the challenger and rebel child of viral tech products is taking a different approach to the constant pressure of innovating forward in order not to be taken out by newcomers or bigger fish with more buying power and demolition strategies.

The company seems to practise what founder Evan Spiegel is preaching simply trusting the gut feeling and a fashion-like sense of creating new demands from users.

It looks like they are on a path based more on lust and carefree usage and engagement than purely business objectives.

The recipe is unlike the more Silicon Valley-prevalent way of combing through endless spreads of data to determine where users are moving and what they want and then try to build just that.

The very datadriven approach is tempting but also a repulsive two-edged sword as we see with Google and Facebook with free services on the surface and secret business models based on our personal data underneath.

Facebook and Google are perhaps the most dominant in that philosophy. And succesful.

They started out as intuitive creations but has turned into professionally calculated constructions that just sucks in all of us in a way that can feel both enriching and all consuming at the same time.

They are looking more like scientists of the technological revolution whereas Snap and Musk are looking more like the artists to counter them.

As Ben Evans put it in his weekly newsletter the way Snap is working is “transgressive of tech industry assumptions — it does things that shouldn’t work, and tries to shape behaviour where Facebook measures and follows.”

So rather than making money the goal it seems like making intuition the business strategy is the driving force of creativity and true new ideas right now.

In an unpredictable world it’s not really important what you are. It’s what you do that makes you relevant and competitive.

In terms of business, because it always comes down to business, the rumor has it that Snap is planing an IPO and in that sense loose its freedom to innovate on intuition.

Elon Musk it seems doesn’t really care about data or advertising as a business model other than his own. So far his intuition eclipsed anything ever seen before when he introduced his spaceship that will lead us all to Mars. And it’s not just a crazy man gone wild — it will work.

So when the stock exchange and everything else collapses Musk will have his interplanetary shuttle ready to boost humanity to the Red Planet. That will be a thing.

Just don’t forget your spectacles.


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