Mike Fishbein posted yesterday about his two big takeaways from the movie Gattaca, and how they relate to entrepreneurship. It made me want to share what has become one of my favorite stories to tell.
(Minor spoilers ahead)
Gattaca takes place in a world where most people are genetically engineered pre-birth to be stronger, faster, more resistant to disease, taller, and more attractive than their natural-birth counterparts. The non-engineered humans cannot keep up and compete, and are relegated to second class citizens.
The main character, Vincent, is an untampered-with human, while his brother Anton is engineered. Growing up, they lived by the ocean. Throughout their childhood, they would often play a game of "Chicken" to see who could swim farther. Vincent would, naturally, always lose to his genetically superior brother.
They grow astranged, and blah blah blah plot things happen, and eventually as adults they start to fight. Vincent challenges Anton to the swim, and they head into the ocean.
They both swim, and swim, and swim. Farther than they ever had as children. Naturally, it's storming. At one point, Anton cries out to Vincent "Stop! We've gone too far!" and he turns around and loses the game. He starts to drown, until Vincent saves him.
On the shore, Anton can't understand what happened.
"How did you beat me? I'm better than you. I'm genetically better than you. I'm stronger, I can swim farther, I can hold my breath longer. How did you beat me? How did you swim farther than me?"
"Because," Vincent replied. "I didn't save anything for the swim home."
Now, I'm usually pretty pragmatic. I only like to make bets when I think I can manipulate the odds to have a better chance of winning than everyone else. I'm a huge fan of Customer Development and Lean Startup because they mitigate a lot of the risk of "Go big or go home."
But at the same time, sometimes you have to commit. Referring back to Friday's article, "The Differences between Risk and Consequences," sometimes the risk is high, but the consequences are low. Or sometimes the consequences are high, but something else is driving you.
Sometimes, you just have to keep swimming deeper into the ocean. Sometimes, you can't save anything for the swim home.
The picture is from my first time skydiving. We jumped out of the plane, rolled, and then watched as the plane dove and flew past us. I was, uhm.. having a good time. :)
I'm in Portland! Biking around, the zoo, Powell's and more!