Thursday, 12 March 2015


Extracted from The Year of the Looking Glass by Julie Zuo

Many people in a creative field have succumbed to the fantasy of the Idea Person. The Idea Person waltzes into the office on a Monday morning feeling light as a feather, her mind blooming like a lotus flower. An idea is unfurling! And what a marvelous idea it is, shimmering with promise, twinkling with the anticipation of what could be. Though the idea at this stage is barely a ghost, Idea Person can already see, taste, or touch some piece of it—a flawless sentence, a scene that brings a lump to the throat, a striking concept, an intuitive interaction. This idea has legs! And what is needed is for those legs to grow strong, stand up, and sprint forward until they shatter the barrier between imagination and reality.

So Idea Person gathers her talented team, tells them the idea, and says “make it so!” Then this team—talented and diligent as they are—takes the idea into their laboratory, pumps up the bass while they spin some magic, and voila! the idea, like Casper, gains a beautiful earthly body. The world is made better off with this new story, movie, invention, design, product, service, law, process—whatever the idea is. Everybody is terribly impressed and thinks, “Wow, what a great idea that Idea Person thought of.” Idea Person, pleased as pie, decides to take a vacation to some far-flung locale in search of inspiration for the Next Big Idea.

Ideas are like candy—colorful, fun, easy to indulge in. The hard part—the part that really matters—is the follow-through.

Why don’t we glorify that instead?

What is a Follow-Through Person (FTP)?

Someone who knows that good execution is 90% of what makes anything succeed. Someone who values getting shit done.

Someone who honors the craft of getting shit done well.

Someone who recognizes that in order to make the idea live, she must inspire others to also want to make the idea live, through a combination of planning, research, critical thinking, and effort. Someone who fights the devil in the details every single day.

Someone who does not pat herself on the back when the idea is good, but only when the incarnation of the idea is good.

Someone who does not flinch at the possibility that her idea may not be good enough.

Someone who soldiers on through the hard, the repetitive, the frustrating, the boring, all for the sake of making something real.

Let’s celebrate that person. Let’s fantasize about being that person.

Nothing thrills like the promise of a good idea.

Nothing happens without follow-through.


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