I don’t say we cannot fight against the crowd, but it is really hard and cost a lot of energy. In the Silicon Valley, when you meet those technical guys, the investors, and entrepreneurs, you are surprised to see how crazy they are:
- They use the new technology that you never heard of.
- You rush to production and change the server architect, and rewrite the code like crazy.
- They gather and talk about something that people in other places never heard of
- They have some ideas that is so advanced that people in the valley does not use.
- They said “This is broken”, “That is broken”, so they want to fix the education system, they want to fix the car industry, and they want to fix a lot of things.
- They spend the money to invest in something that has no revenue at all, and think it can change world.
The list goes on and on and on.
Every community/city/country has its norms, and you don’t want to be too outlined. In the valley, there are so many crazy people gathering, and you just feel it is the norm.
I wrote an article on Weibo “They Said…” (Chinese) by Lu Chunqing. A very nice article. She mentioned the pressure from “They said…” in mainland China. People tell you to be stable, to get a good job, and to marry quickly… The general opinion from the public just gradually change people, until they become different.
Paul Graham also observed that every fifteen century Italian painters come from Florence. I would argue currently, most of the world famous Internet and software gaint come from the valley. Why?
If we cannot change the world (well, we can but we need to hurry before they change us), we can decide which world we live in.
P.S. Just check what other bloggers are writing about, especially those you greatly admire (like Paul Graham‘s for me), and count who they talk with and who their friends are, and you get some idea. Paul’s blog often opens as “I was talking recently to a friend who teaches at MIT.” as in this article: Taste for Makers. Surround by people you really care, and enjoyed meeting with.