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Turning on your Reality Distortion Field (steveblank.com)
152 points by quan 2587 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite

I have always wondered how Steve Jobs' so-called reality distortion field worked, since its myth makes him seem supernatural.

However, if you spend enough time circulating, you start to see how it works. I encounter a lot of people pitching in my line of work. In fact, I spend a lot of time pitching too.

Some universal things I've learnt that lead to getting people on board faster:

0. Listen, listen hard. Understand where the other person desperately needs to head next.

1. Paint a vision of the future that fulfills both parties' desperate needs.

2. Be genuinely passionate about that vision. If you're passionate, it's easier for the other party to be passionate. It's also hard to be dishonestly passionate.

3. Turn that vision into immediately actionable steps.

4. Start moving yourself on your own commitments and lead that person into taking those steps.

Applies equally well to sales as well.

A more practical advice than the original article. Thanks.

I started emulating something I see in the successful people I know, and that's acting as though I'm right. My mind is constantly filled with dozens of points of nuance and a half-dozen objections or "yeah, buts". The people I know that are successful plow forward anyway, separating the important nuance from the unimportant. And that heuristic is INVALUABLE, and I think it contributes way more to the 'reality distortion field'. iPad doesn't have a market? It doesn't solve a need? In a sense, it doesn't matter, because Jobs -KNOWS- it will work, and everything else is just details. (As long as you're right...but it's easier to be right when you're convinced you're right.)

It's not that such people are unaware of the same concerns I have, they just don't see them as important (because they're only important in a context), and they act as if they've already succeeded. I act as if I could 'lose' at any moment: they act as if they've already won.

My initial forays into this behavior were VERY hard for me, and I still feel like I'm completely faking it. But it's starting to grow on me, and I'm already seeing people change the way they bring ideas to me. THEY'RE handling the objections, use concerns, nuance as a response to MY vision, which is...I don't know what it is yet.

Maybe, at the end of the day, all it really is, is taking responsibility for the decisions you make, and that makes people react to you instead of you reacting to them. I don't know, I'm still working through all of this.

I think what you're experiencing is that people are naturally inclined to look for direction, if someone provides that direction that saves some work they won't have to do, and it absolves them to some extent of the responsibility that goes with decision making.

People working in disaster areas are trained to 'take charge', that gets stuff organized quickly and moving, it unites an otherwise disorganized workforce and gets results.

What's the deal with the hilltop compound in the banner of Steve Blank's blog?

Entrepreneurs need to keep their eyes on the prize. That was the prize.

I don't remember reading a post about you developing that goal and specifically how you attained it. Did you ever write about it in detail?

From his about section:

"After 21 years in 8 high technology companies, I retired in 1999. I started my last company, E.piphany, in my living room in 1996. My other startups include two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers, a workstation company Convergent Technologies, a consulting stint for a graphics hardware/software spinout Pixar, a supercomputer firm, Ardent, a computer peripheral supplier, SuperMac, a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL and a video game company, Rocket Science Games.

Total score: two large craters (Rocket Science and Ardent), one dot.com bubble home run (E.piphany) and several base hits."

Epiphany, Inc. (previous NASDAQ symbol: EPNY), previously known as E.piphany and Epiphany Marketing Software, was a company developing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. On September 29, 2005, Epiphany was acquired by SSA Global Technologies.[1] Epiphany CRM software is now produced by Infor, which acquired SSA Global in 2006.

I love this as I think it does a good job explaining one of my favorite cartoons by Hugh MacLeod, which screams: "I'm not delusional. I'm an entrpreneur."

If you think someone is delusional, maybe they're onto something and just haven't turned on their distortion field yet?


This article points to one of the most important survival skill of any struggling entrepreneur, which in the past I have summarized as follows, "Make the hard stuff look easy and the easy stuff look hard."

On the same lines, I think us hackers need to understand a pitch for investors / consumers.

I've seen hackers read a pitch and say "bah..what expectations and grandeur." But its not intended for us - its intended for the non-technical folks. Simplifying an idea might make it sound more general. Its really not always grandeur.

I love this article and even though I've always respected Steve Blank, he just went up a huge notch. The question I always ask people who pitch an idea / tell me their startup is:

"If you succeed to your fullest extent how will the world be different in 5 years?"

"Customers need to stop being satisfied with the status quo and queue up for whatever you are going to deliver."

I thought this was key.

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