Tim, your insatiable desire for variety is your greatest gift. It’s also a bit of a curse.
A friend of mine left this comment on a blog post over a year ago. I haven’t stopped quoting it since.
Partially, I quote it due its stark truth: a desire for variety greatly increases breadth of knowledge and thought, but also highly limits focus. But more often, I quote this line because it’s a plague through which most entrepreneurs suffer.
I’ve heard from several start-up folk that they joined the entrepreneurial frenzy because they didn’t enjoy having a boss. While that may be true, I think a more correct restatement is that they didn’t enjoy having an imperfect boss. Part of the desire for variety includes the ability to notice inefficiencies everywhere — because you’re always thinking about everything. And the big-business rules and regulations (and the bosses that enforce them) stymie any chance of fixing these inefficiencies and thus create an unbearable environment for this type of entrepreneur. (True, this is also describing 99% of employees out there… it just doesn’t piss you off quite enough to quit your job).
Tonight, I come back to this quote while designing product. My mind tackles multiple different problems at the same time — this is good, I’m being hollistic. But then again, my mind is trying to tackle multiple different problems at the same time — it’s tough to completely accomplish anything. So to you the reader, I apologize if you’re seeking some point in the writing of this post, but unfortunately in times like this I write merely to tame the beast, to calm down the thousand thoughts in my mind to a manageable number in the hopes that this night will produce something fruitful.
Hmm, so alas, there is a point to be made. The curse of variety need not be a curse if you can figure out some way to channel and focus that energy. But fair warning, it’s a little like playing chess against yourself.