When small won’t work

Sometimes small is everything. You want your processors to be smaller and smaller to power your iPhone longer and better. The details matter because that’s where the devil is. You want to focus on small incremental steps to change a behavior because Little Bets work better.

But other times small doesn’t cut it. When you’re setting out to change your customer. Bold moves are required. When you’re going to challenge the status quo, we need to notice. When you’ve decided to step into the arena and they come at you with all they got, standing tall is the only response.

Being small is a way to hide, a way to give in to the lizard brain. Sure small feels safe. “Maybe they’ll overlook me if they can’t see me.” Or “if I don’t look threatening they won’t bother.”

But this is precisely when small won’t work.

Sure we need to be humble. And sometimes we need to “speak softly and carry a big stick” as Teddy Roosevelt would say. I’m not saying we need to boast and cry wolf. But when you’ve made the choice to no longer be a cog, to step out from shadows and be different, you’ve made the choice to take hits and consequently you’ve made the choice that small won’t work.

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