Within 58 seconds after the bell rang fourteen days ago on the NASDAQ stock exchange, Kraft Foods stock price soared by 29%. Why? Because of a software bug. For about an hour, a glitch in the system made a few thousand people instantly wealthier with no effort whatsoever.
The NASDAQ OMX later canceled all trades before 9:37 to mitigate the issue, and I read it in last week’s Economist and found it amusing.
And then a little disconcerting.
When I remembered all the many people that I know that are waiting for a glitch.
Waiting for a magical hiccup in the system to change the trajectory of their one and only life.
Yesterday I watched an interview that my friend Jonathan Fields produced with Seth Godin (I suggest you take the time to watch it). The most interesting moment, for me, was when Seth was talking about his recent successful Kickstarter project to pre-fund his new book (side note: it was fully funded in like 3 seconds), and says something to the effect of “this didn’t work because I’m Seth”. Of course, he’s right. It worked because he has spent years, like any true artisan, crafting his work very publicly, maintaining a platform in which people/advocates/backers/disciples can pay attention to that work and, from time to time, asking his people to help him craft more work.
But Seth’s right.
Many people will say, “sure, he can do that, he’s Seth.” As if somehow, there’s a glitch in the system for smart bald guys who wear awesomely bizarre colored glasses. I mean, he received 900 rejection letters before publishing his second book!
A couple weeks ago, I had someone send me a note that said, “I can’t wait to be as successful as you, so I can start changing the world”. By changing the world, he was referring to the social projects I have initiated in South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and most recently Malawi.
What he doesn’t realize is that I, in a very non-figurative sense, emptied my bank account to work on my first social project. I had like 94 followers on twitter and Melissa and I flew to Africa with exactly $134 in our checking account to help kids in the third world get on the web and raise a few thousand dollars to help change their lives.
Sure, there are glitches.
Maybe you’ll win the lottery.
Maybe your rich aunt will leave you a Rolls Royce in her will.
Maybe your next fundraising campaign with get the attention of my buddy Mr Brogan and his legions will get behind it.
Maybe you’ll slip in a Walmart and you can sue them for a million dollars.
Maybe a publisher at Penguin will find your latest post and beg you to publish with them.
Maybe you’ll get retweeted by @BarackObama and you’ll get 1,000 new subscribers to your blog.
Maybe one day all of your stars will line up.
Maybe you’ll recognize that the stars are deceiving vixens and that they rarely line up.
Waiting for a glitch is a dangerous gamble.
And it rarely pays off.
Your Fellow Misfit,
PS – We have received tons and tons of applications from all over the world to the one and only spot at Misfit Camp in January. The Jedi’s are hard at work, and will provide me with the winner by this Sunday. I will be announcing the winner on Monday. And remember, if you applied and you don’t win, do it anyways. I didn’t do this giveaway to help one person, I did it to force hundreds of people in clarifying their own quest to change the world.