I was in my “office away from the office” (aka a coffee shop) when I saw this little sign taped to the cash register:
Credit card fees are eating into merchants’ profitability. But, going back to a cash-only policy isn’t a fix. There has to be a better way, right? Enter Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and brains behind Square, a credit-card processing system that is revolutionizing mobile payments.
Creating a major innovation like this doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a a lot of testing, learning, iterating. It’s messy. But, out of that messiness emerges amazingness — a product so amazing, in this case, that Starbucks signed on as Square’s largest customer, an investor, and potential gateway to mainstream usage.
Messiness breeds innovation.
This month’s Fast Company takes an in-depth look at social media. After comparing social media to the “Wild West,” editor Robert Safian wrote:
“The risk in all this tumult: that we mistake the messiness and growing pains of social media for a diminution of its impact.”
In the midst of the messiness, innovation happens. New best practices are developed. Expectations are exceeded.
When we’re developing digital PR and social media initiatives, we try to manage expectations. At some point your boss or client has probably asked something like this: “What will we get if we spend $_____?” The honest answer: It’s not always possible to quantify projected results. BUT, that doesn’t mean you should abandon social media for easier-to-project communication channels. Set benchmarks and track your progress. Learn. Iterate. Innovate. Don’t devalue the impact of social media (or anything, really!) simply because it’s not easy or turn-key.
“The only way to silence the voice of self-doubt is to cross the start line.”
Put another way: Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from crossing the start line. I try to apply that same line of thinking to running a business. We have to take calculated risks — to grow the business and to help our clients excel in today’s social world. We’re never reckless, but we’ve gotten comfortable with the idea that sometimes things might get crazy. (In a good way!) Know what we’ve learned? Sure, things get a little messy sometimes, but out of that messiness comes the best ideas, opportunities and results.
Get comfortable with messiness. Messiness breads innovation. Innovation breeds success.