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Of Limits and Launches

On Saturday, a friend and I are starting a greeting card company. We’ll build it from scratch. We have a name, a plan, and a deadline.

We’re starting at 7 in the morning and going until 7 at night. That deadline gives us a 12-hour limit. We’re not the first to appreciate the benefits of limits. After all, limits can make you more creative. And more productive.

We know we could spend hours on designs, afternoons discussing the best names, days on the site’s layout, and months before actually deciding to do anything at all.

So we chose to limit ourselves.

Because now we know what happens at 7 on Saturday evening: we’ll have a working website, a newborn company, and the experience of launching something.

It’ll be something small. Size doesn’t matter. It’s the experience. It’s developing our abilities and pushing ourselves. It’s learning.

There are other ways to learn, to be sure. There are courses we can take that would give us more case studies than we could handle, and arm us with the skills to analyze them. We may very well take those courses.

There are business books to read that teach what do do, what not to do, how to manage, how to learn from the failure of others, and everything in between. We are reading those books.

We know, however, that it’s much easier to keep turning pages than to put the book down, to get up, and to start something.

So we’re starting a company.

Will it be the company that transforms how people share their cherished moments? Will it revolutionize the greeting card industry? Will it make us heaps of money?

I mean, maybe.

Probably not, though.

But we’re learning. We’ll get there.

As Ken Robinson says in Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative:

Education is not a linear process of preparation for the future, it is about cultivating the talents and sensibilities through which we can live our best lives in the present and create the future for ourselves.

We’re creating a company. It may flop around and fail and people will forget about it. It may get some attention. Maybe we’ll sell a dozen cards, or a hundred, or a thousand. Who knows. What we do know is that we can’t just keep preparing ourselves for what might happen later.

We are creating an opportunity for ourselves. We’re launching a company.

And after that, we’ll make our future.


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