What's Your Firebird?

Josh Linkner
November 04, 2018

Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, NY Times bestselling author and venture capitalist.

In 1953, a team of the most creative designers and engineers at General Motors set out to make history. Their task: invent the prototype car of the future. Unlike their mass-production counterparts who focused on streamlined operations, cost control, and maximizing profits, the dreamers on the Firebird project were charged with pushing the boundaries of possibility without the burden of commercialization.

These futuristic prototypes did more than turned heads. In addition to showing the world what the company was capable of, the models were the genesis of major innovation still being used today. The Firebird prototypes were the first to use disc brakes, independent suspension, and cruise control. In fact, the designers were so advanced, they were the first to suggest autonomous vehicles, pioneering automated guidance systems and "no hold" steering.

The Ford GT, the Acura NSX, and the Audi R8 elevate more than just their respective reputations. They serve as a learning lab, allowing innovators the freedom to explore and create bold new futures. In the auto business, today's supercars fuel tomorrow's mass-production breakthroughs.

Which leads to the question what's your Firebird?

While most of our time and energy should be spent delivering current work for existing customers, we can't forget to allocate resources to build our own Firebirds. Whether you sell insurance, run a restaurant, or distribute airplane fuel, there's always some area in your business that is ripe for experimentation. Building and testing a prototype of our ideal services or products will eventually lead to the breakthroughs we seek. This approach also creates a safe environment for creative exploration outside of our present-tense obligations.

Start with a blank canvas and get to work on your own farfetched masterpiece. The ideal version of the future. The prototype of what's possible, how to supremely serve customers and deliver maximum value to the world. By starting with the extreme incarnation and then later ratcheting back from boldness, we avoid the trap of incremental thinking. Tweaking an existing approach rarely leads to breakthrough thinking, while developing the ideal prototype of the future will allow you to seize new possibility.

Ladies and Gentlemen Start your engines. Your race begins now.

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