Beyond Excellence:
The “Berserk Standard”

Amazon has changed the world.
eBay has changed the world.

Craigslist has changed the world—put about a zillion nails in the coffins of newspapers, among many other Richter 8.0+ things.
Craigslist has more traffic than Amazon or eBay.
(Though a private company, Craigslist has a projected market capitalization in the billions.)

Amazon has 20,000 employees.
eBay has 16,000 employees.
Craigslist has … 30 employees.

There is more than one way to skin a cat—even a thoroughly modern cat.

“Pragmatic” action?

Among other things, every (!!!) time you start a project, no matter how small, reach out to several S.W.P.—seriously weird people—for their views about what you are undertaking. Keep reaching until you find a couple of people who are so far out that they more or less speak gibberish.

It may indeed be gibberish, and probably is gibberish—but perhaps once or twice in a lifetime, it’ll be someone and some approach that amounts to a blueprint for doing the work of 10,000 with 10, à la Craigslist vs. Amazon and eBay.

Never get seriously underway until you’ve surfaced a couple of ideas that score perfect 10s, or at least 8s, on the … Berserk Scale.

At the least, you will have had your mind stretched, the best exercise regimen of all; at most, you may have taken a baby step toward inclusion in the history books.

NB: I’ve got two books beside me as I write this:

The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon (Frank Batten with Jeffrey Cruikshank)
ESPN: The Uncensored History (Michael Freeman)

The idea of an all-weather channel and the idea of an all-sports channel were considered the fantasies of raving lunatics. It took both sets of “lunatics” forever to prove their points. Yet both properties achieved matchless popularity (user-addicts by the millions) and market values of several billion dollars each.

(Source of data re Craigslist, Amazon, eBay: Wired, cover story, September 2009.)