Conversation : A talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged (says the Oxford Dictionary)
On a sunny afternoon in Redwood Shores — California, home to my then employer, I stepped out to buy me some lunch as my mates chose to head out for a movie I wasn’t too keen on. Undeterred by the long queue with music pumping into my ears, I was asked to wait for a good 30 minutes before my packed food arrived. Seated at the waiting bay, I decided to watch the world outside go by — a granny with her pup walking by, two kids skating away, a couple holding hands with a song on their lips. Such a wonder world, this, I told myself and just then, a huge truck chose to obstruct my view completely. It was the delivery guy for a super market next door.
As the driver got off his truck that was going to be offloaded, a man in suits and tie pulled him over to a couch next to mine. Quick customary hellos and off they dived into a talk. With 20+ minutes to wait and curiosity stifling me, I began to hear what they spoke. In about 20 minutes, the duo finalised 4 screens for a mobile app that would help food delivery drivers optimise their travel. Guess who drove the discussion? The driver, a school drop out.
As I picked up my food, I saw the driver walk over to the other side for a smoke and alone. Since he seemed friendly, I walked up to him to know got him into mobile app designs. Turns out, he met the guy in suits and tie 3 weeks ago at the same place, they stuck a “conversation” over smoke, one thing led to another and finally, they were to launch a free app meant for truck drivers that could save 30% time, 20% fuel and 10% costs. And they had a name too for it — Happy Steering : For that friendly neighborhood food trucker. Now I dont have to explain what their goal was.
How did two strangers manage to do this? Work on something that wasn’t about their field, expect zero benefit off each other, everything unplanned but achieved what they had to. 3 things form important ingredients here — Conversation, Trust and Staying Humble . If two strangers didn’t continue on a problem they identified and solved, if two men from different fields didn’t manage to get onto a plateau of trust Happy Steering would’ve gone down hill. And beyond everything, it was never about drum rolls and victory marching. It was a pure intent, one that they wanted to solve for people around them. Am 100% sure, in the last 6 years, they’d have collaborated to solve many more problems and inspire others, and still never make it to any news or fame. But yet, they did what we strive for every moment — INNOVATION
As teams, we get lost in the rabbit holes of meetings, endless mandatory and rudimentary stand ups, all-hands and other marathons. No, these aren’t bad, they are essential for an organisation to function in a certain way in the corporate jungle. But let nothing be an excuse for you to stop having those “conversations”. For, they lead you to a wonderful spot called “trust”. And with each problem you solve, may it teach you that there are a million more you can take on, waiting for you to INNOVATE
As I plug in Queensryche into my ears for a conversation with myself, I say :
“Lets take our minds out for a conversation! we never know if the next big innovation is round that bend and not the hill top”
Inspired by ongoings in my life, as I observe dying conversations that are leading to severe mistrust and agony. And countless conversations I’ve had with my trusted friends that keep me going on. A Tout Le Monde I guess!