Whatever It Takes

Does the Imagine Dragons Song Offer Good Advice for Inventors?

The refrain is a message contained in every Tony Robbins motivational speech. It could be, probably is, what the Patriots will be playing in their locker room before tomorrow's Super Bowl. If it had been around in 1944 it would surely have been at the top of General Eisenhower's playlist for the Allied troops hitting the beaches of Normandy to roll back and ultimately defeat Nazi Germany. Imagine Dragons' "Whatever it Takes" functions as a corporate/sports/military get-pumped-up anthem even as it is actually a not-totally-in-your-face pledge to God. With strong power cords and great hook, it expresses a can-do-will-do attitude for confronting ultimate evil or simply making your monthly sales quota.

As of this February 2, 2019, the video has been viewed FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY MILLION times. If somehow you haven't heard it yet, check it out below - your pulse will quicken and you might have a desire to start training for a marathon.

I find it more motivating than Shia LaBeouf to get you to "Just Do It," whatever your "It" is. But as a mantra for inventors trying to turn a new product idea into reality it's totally misguided. Inventing is a form of gambling. No matter how confident you may be in your invention idea, no matter how many people tell you that you're gong to be rich, that you're brilliant, that your idea will change the world... there's risk (see Segway). And if you commit yourself to doing whatever it takes, you are probably on the road to bankruptcy. When it comes to dollars and sense, hope and belief do not overcome supply and demand. In practical terms that means an inventor should never commit to doing whatever it takes. You should commit to taking a next step based on the best information you have at the time. If and when that step can't be justified, you should stop and move on to something else.

"Logical," says Spock.

But there's room for Captain Kirk too. Passion can and should drive you to working all-nighters to finish the prototype and complete the presentation. Meanwhile, keep your head in reality. When the last of your prospects says "no," turn off Imagine Dragons (or Shia LaBeouf if that's your preferred flavor) and listen to the birds singing outside. Connect with reality. Refresh yourself and try again.

Meanwhile, as a wash ashore New Englander, with acknowledgement that the rest of the world hates them: Go Patriots! Whatever it takes (within the rules of course).

- Mike

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