Today is day 1️⃣4️⃣ of my 30 day writing challenge - made it to 2 weeks, LFG 💪🔥
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Let's start with a quote by Rick Rubin, legendary producer and the author of The Creative Act: A way of being:
If we choose to share what we make, our work can recirculate and become source material for others.
Yesterday, I wrote a post about Varda, a deep tech company working on building a materials factory in space. They just had their first launch day on Monday and are on track to make history. The mission will extend into July, so I'll keep an eye out for any updates. In case you missed the piece, check it out here!
One of the points I mentioned in my post was regarding the "creator-founder" flywheel. For context, Robert Zubrin wrote a book called "The Case for Mars" which inspired Elon Musk to start SpaceX which then inspired Zubrin to write "The case for Space" which inspired Delian to start Varda.
As a writer, that flywheel of Zubrin, Musk, and Delian really hit a chord. I was amazed that a writer and researcher could inspire the brightest builders to develop companies worth billions of dollars.
I decided to see if there were more examples where founders were directly inspired by a piece of content (i.e. movies, books, etc). Below, I give a few examples of founders that started building their passion project because they had an "aha!" moment while consuming a piece of content.
My key takeaway today is obvious at first glance but often gets overlooked: creators do matter. Their ideas, narratives, and visions provide the intellectual fuel that ignites the spark in the minds of the builders. They stir up the curiosity, provoke thoughts, and inspire actions that pave the way for innovations.
I included a whole section from Trung's post on good taste below because I loved it so much.
Metaverse for Professionals
Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, has often spoken about how influential Neal Stephenson's novel "Snow Crash" was in shaping his approach to creating the professional networking site. The book introduced the concept of a 'Metaverse,' a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. This idea resonated with Hoffman and provided a metaphorical framework for how he envisioned LinkedIn.
In the Metaverse of "Snow Crash," individuals can create their own avatars, build virtual homes, and interact in a way that transcends the limitations of physical reality. Similarly, LinkedIn allows professionals to create their own digital identities (profiles), build networks (connections), and interact with a global professional community. LinkedIn, in essence, becomes a sort of 'Metaverse' for professionals, transcending geographical and temporal limitations and allowing users to interact, network, and collaborate on a global scale.
The principles underpinning the 'Metaverse' concept in "Snow Crash" played a significant role in shaping Hoffman's vision of a globally connected professional community.
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, was also inspired by Snow Crash. I thought that one was a bit obvious so I decided to expand on LinkedIn.
Another hit for Neal Stephenson.
Jeff Bezos was inspired to create the Amazon Kindle after reading "The Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson. I haven't read the book so here's a quick summary by ChatGPT:
In "The Diamond Age," an engineer steals a sophisticated interactive textbook for his daughter, Fiona, sparking a series of events that underline the transformative potential of technology.
This struck a chord with Bezos and his vision for the future of reading. When developing Amazon's e-reader, the Kindle was originally codenamed "Fiona,". The Kindle, like the interactive book in "The Diamond Age," was built to revolutionize reading by making it more interactive and portable.
No need for me to expand on this one, the website does a great job.
tl;dr: The Warby Parker name was inspired by two characters in one of Kerouac's journals. I personally have not read any of his work, but from my understanding the overall themes are focused on freedom, rebellion, departure from traditional social norms, etc. The founders of Warby Parker wanted to break from the traditionally of the expensive eyewear market and emulate the boundless creativity found in Kerouac's books.
The Star Trek Mafia
The Star Trek franchise has inspired a whole generation of founders, technologists, innovators, etc. Many founders have talked about watching Star Trek when they were young and how it got them hooked on to science fiction.
One story I didn't know however was the influence of the series on Martin Cooper, "the father of the cellphone". He was the lead engineer at Motorola and has mentioned on multiple occasions that the direct inspiration for the first cell phone came from the handheld communicators used in Star Trek. Cooper claims he saw a future where people could communicate directly and instantaneously with each other regardless of their location, similar to the characters on the starship Enterprise.
If you're in the crypto space, there's a good chance you've probably heard of this story. Vitalik has talked about it several times, but he used to be an avid World of Warcraft player before he discovered crypto and one day Blizzard took away his favorite spell. Then x leads to y which leads to...Ethereum 😂
This example was not a book like the ones above, but still important to highlight the fact that video games are no different. Of course, this inspiration was more of a dumb move by Blizzard, but the fact that the inspiration for Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency, came from a mishap in a game is still insane to me.
That's all for today's post - I hope you enjoyed learning about examples of the creator-founder flywheel as much as I did! Just a reminder that content doesn't just mean books; rather, it includes everything from movies, games, podcasts, and even IRL presentations like Ted Talks.
I'm sure there's a ton more but that's all for today. My next step is going to be buying all of Neal Stephenson's books haha.
Comment any piece of content that has inspired your career, ideology, and passion. I'd love to check them out :)
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