How to be Radical

Recently I posted on how freethinkers are obstacles to innovation, by being both undiscriminating on ideas and undesirable as social associates.  Today let me outline how best to be radical, if you must.

Freethinkers who work on a radical idea or project tend to shoot themselves in the foot by trying to be radical on as many dimensions as possible.  For example, if they manage to get funding for a startup pursuing their radical software product, they try to also be radical on software tools, project management, office location and organization, personnel, compensation, meeting times, work hours, marketing, and so on.  In their personal lives they try to be radical on romance, household organization, medical care, education, clothing, music, and so on.  This freethinker strategy of being radical on every possible dimension pretty much guarantees that something will go very wrong with at least one of these dimensions. 

To have the best chance of succeeding in a radical project, you should instead choose just a few related dimensions on which to make radical choices, and then make conservative conventional choices on all the other dimensions.  This strategy minimizes the chance that some other project dimension will go badly wrong and take down your central radical idea with it.

While all-dimension-radical freethinker projects have little chance of success, their looming wreckage can be a great place to look for promising radical ideas to pursue – many a successful radical project idea was "stolen" from freethinker predecessors.   So if you are shopping for a radical idea to pursue, make friends with ambitious freethinkers – but don’t pick up their undiscriminating habits. 

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