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KEYNOTES : MAKE CHAOS YOUR OPPORTUNITY
In a scene from Game of Thrones, somebody falls into a pit, and fictional character Petyr Baelish is told it has been chaos. But Baelish replies, “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.”
Prakash Ramachandran calls this the “chaos ladder” and says that companies that do not create opportunities from chaos are bound to lose out to competition. A classic case is that of camera film maker Kodak, which invented the digital camera but didn’t bring it to the market thinking it would cannibalize its film sales.
During Facebook’s early days, Mark Zuckerberg famously said, “Move fast and break things,” and later changed it to: “If you are not breaking things, you are not moving fast.”
“It's perfectly fine to trade off some amount of bugginess, some amount of incorrectness, to get the business moving forward, and the momentum is what matters,” Mr. Ramachandran said.
This works during a company’s initial “drunken walk.” It’s a hit-andmiss till something clicks. At this point, you are only looking at shortterm — how do I do stuff for next week? And the few people in your organization are generalists. “If you look at Byju’s, initially everybody had to play multiple roles. Byju is the CEO, but he used to teach. We had a couple of project managers who wore multiple hats,” Mr. Ramachandran said.
Since there are no cycles and processes to fall back on, everybody is supposed to be a manager and own the outcome. “We had a mantra, ‘Be a CEO,’” he said.
Then comes the hyper stage when users are doubling rapidly. At this point, "move fast and break things" stops working. “Every time you do something fast, sometimes you take shortcuts, you duct-tape things… After some time, you will see the whole chair is standing on duct tapes.”
So, Zuckerberg said, “Move fast, but with stable infra.” Here, if there was a mistake, one could just make some changes and get it working again, provided the infra is not broken.
“So, if you want to do something, don’t wait for it to be perfect. If it is good, I can release it. Then iterate,” he added.
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