The Creator’s Code is based on inteviews with 200 entrepreneurs who have started companies that generate more than $100 million in annual revenue or social enterprises that serve more than 100,000 people. Some of these creators have started businesses that generate more than $1 billion in revenue every year.
Crisscrossing the country, I spent hours interviewing creators in technology, retail, energy, health care, media, mobile applications, biotechnology, real estate, travel, and hospitality, working to understand their approach.
Without exception, creators describe their work as doing something much more than achieving finantial ambitions–they aim to make a mark on the world.
To test and support my conclusions, I immersed myself in the literature relevant to entrepreneurial endeavor from the fields of organizational behavior, psychology, sociology, entrepreneurship, economics, strategy, decision theory, and creativity. I reviewed more than 4,000 pages of academic research, examined hundred of studies and experiments, and consulted leading scholars. It was a five-year odyssey that led me to six skills that make creators successful.
The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs
Creators are not born with an innate ability to conceive and build $100 million enterprises. They work at it. I found that they all share certain fundamental approaches to the act of creation. The skills that make them successful can be learned, practiced, and passed on. Each feeds the next, creating synergy and momentum.
1. Find the gap
By staying alert, creators spot opportunities that others don’t see. They keep their eyes open for fresh potential, a vacuum to fill, or an unmet need.
Creators tend to use one of the three distinct techniques: transplanting ideas across divides, designing a new way of forward, or merging disparate concepts.
2. Drive for daylight
Just as race-car drivers keep their eyes on the road ahead, creators focus on the future, knowing that where they go, their eyes go first. Creators move too fast to navigate by the confines of their lane or the position of their peers.
3. Fly the ooda loop
Creators continously update their assumptions. In rapid succession, they observe, orient, decide, and act. They master fast-cycle iteration and in short order gain an edge over less agile competitors.
4. Fail wisely
Creators understand that experiencing a series of small failures is essential to avoiding catastrophic mistakes. In the course of practicing and mastering this skill, they set what I call future ratios, place small bets to test ideas, and develop reslience.
5. Network minds
To solve multifaceted problems, creators bring together the brainpower of diverse individuals through on- and off- line forums. They harness cognitive diversity to build on each other’s ideas. They collaborate with unlikely allies.
6. Gift small goods
Creators unleash generosity by helping others, often by sharing information, pitching in to complete a task, or opening opportunities to colleagues. Offering kindness may not seem like a skill, but it is an essential way that creators strengthen relationships. In an increasingly transparent and interconnected world, generosity makes creators more productive.