- “In those days, for a program to be popular enough it would have to be written for Windows. As consummate hackers, they loathed everything about Windows and had never bothered to learn how to develop applications for it. They preferred to write in Lisp and have the program run on Unix, the open-source operating system.
They decided to postpone the inevitable and wrote the program for Unix anyway. To translate this later into Window’s would be easy, but as they contemplated doing this, they realized the terrible consequences it would lead to—once the program was launched in Windows, they would have to deal with users and perfect the program based on their feedback. This would mean they would be forced to think and program in Windows for months, perhaps years. This was too awful a prospect, and they seriously considered giving up.
One morning Graham, who had been sleeping on a mattress on the floor in Morris’s Manhattan apartment, woke up repealing certain words that must have come to him from a dream: “You could control the program by clicking on links.” He suddenly sat boll upright, as he realized what these words could mean—the possibility of creating a program to set up an online store that would run on the web server itself. People would download and use it through Netscape, clicking various links on the web page to set it up. This would mean he and Morris would bypass tire usual route of writing a program that users would download to their desktop. It would cut out the need ever to have to dabble in Windows. There was nothing out there like this, and yet it seemed like such an obvious solution. In a state of excitement he explained his epiphany to Morris, and they agreed to give it a try. Within a few days they finished the first version, and it functioned beautifully. Clearly, the concept of a web application would work.” - “To help yourself to cultivate serendipity, you should keep a notebook with you at all times. The moment any idea or observation comes, you note it down. You keep the notebook by your bed, careful to record ideas that come in those moments of fringe awareness—just before falling asleep, or just upon waking. In this notebook you record any scrap of thought that occurs to you, and include drawings, quotes from other books, anything at all. In this way, you will have the freedom to try out the most absurd ideas. The juxtaposition of so many random bits will be enough to spark various associations.
In general you must adopt a more analogical way of thinking, taking greater advantage of the associative powers of the mind. Thinking in terms of analogies and metaphors can be extremely helpful to the creative process. For instance, an argument people used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to prove that the earth does not move was to say that a rock dropped from a tower lands at its base. If the earth were moving, they argued, it would fall elsewhere. Galileo, a man who habitually thought in terms of analogies, saw the earth in his mind as a kind of sailing ship in space. As he explained to doubters of the earth’s movement, a rock dropped from the mast of a moving ship still tands at its base.
These analogies can be tight and logical, such as Isaac Newton’s comparison of the falling apple from a tree in his garden to the moon falling in space. Or they can be loose and somewhat irrational, such as the jazz artist John Coltrane’s thinking of his own compositions as cathedrals of sound he was constructing. In any event, you must train yourself to look constantly for such analogies to reframe and expand your ideas.” - “In order to work, the writer Samuel Johnson required that he had on his desk a cat, which he would periodically stroke to make it purr, and a slice of orange. Supposedly only these various sensual cues could properly stimulate him for his work.
These examples are all related to the phenomenon of synesthesia- moments in which the stimulation of one sense provokes another. For instance, we hear a particular sound and it makes us think of a color. Studies have indicated that synesthesia is far more prevalent among artists and high- level thinkers. Some have speculated that synesthesia represents a high degree of interconnectivity in the brain, which also plays a role in intelligence. Creative people do not simply think in words, but use all of their senses, their entire bodies in the process. They find sense cues that stimulate their thoughts on many levels—whether it be the smell of something strong, or the tactile feel of a rubber ball. What this means is that they are more open to alternative ways of thinking, creating, and sensing the world. They allow themselves a broader range of sense experience. You must expand as well your notion of Lhinking and creativity beyond the confines of words and iniellectualizaiions. Stimulating your brain and senses from all directions will help unlock your natural creativity and help revive your original mind.” - “As it panned out, the novelty of their idea, which Graham and Morris had come upon largely because of their distaste for Windows, proved to have all kinds of unforeseen advantages. Working directly on the Internet, they could generate a continuous stream of new releases of the software and test them right away. They could interact directly with consumers, getting instant feedback on their program and improving it in days rather than the months it could take with desktop software. With no experience running a business, they did not think to hire salespeople to do the pitching; instead, they made the phone calls to potential clients themselves. But as they were the de facto salespeople, they were also the first to hear complaints or suggestions from consumers, and this gave them a real feel for the program’s weaknesses and how to improve it. Because it was so unique and came out of left field, they had no competitors to worry about; nobody could steal the idea because they were the only ones who were insane enough to attempt it.”
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