In Shoe Dog, Phil Knight credits a book called How to Do Business With the Japanese for getting his company off the ground.
It’s a nice story, but I’d like to point out something I fear we forget.
Before that book could exist, someone had to do the difficult work of figuring out how to do business with the Japanese.
As a general principle, information always lags behind innovation.
The Bulgarians proved out their training methods with hundreds of athletes before teaching their methods to the world.
The same is true of today’s athletic innovators, by the way.
In business, Peter Thiel built PayPal and invested in dozens of successful startups before teaching his methods to Stanford graduate students.
And in war, the saying goes:
The army is now fully prepared to fight the previous war.
Ultimately, it’s on us to push the boundaries, knowing that innovation will always be misunderstood & under-appreciated by those who value perfect information over progress.