McKay Thomas

The Stacy Doctrine

By McKay Thomas

I’m naked now. In a very metaphorical sense, but it’s true. Through the crazy emotional journey of fundraising, I’d slowly started putting on someone else’s clothes. Someone from the establishment, someone with old ideas and blinders, someone who wears parachute shirts and shoes I can quite describe other than uncomfortable.

I was listening to the questions of all those around me and was being consumed by them. I was letting others doubts about my business and my very future wear me. An outfit I’m not used to.

Then I had a call with the usability expert on my team. She’s met face to face with dozens and dozens of our users over the past month and as a result has deep understanding of the business. She had slowly watched me changed my clothes. Looking back, I could feel it too, but it wasn’t as obvious to me.

"That’s the wrong question, McKay." Stacy said. "We’re not selling information. You can get that anywhere." She went on to describe a doctrine that will no doubt guide this business over the next phase of its life. And maybe forever. The Stacy Doctrine.

As I heard it I felt the strange outfit begin to fall off and I began to feel exposed. Naked. I was once again fighting an industry worth billions with a vision I had relayed to Stacy but had somehow forgotten. I am not here to ask other people’s questions. I’m here to build something for my users. I’m here to make something and make it so well that my users will feel compelled to say, “Boy! This makes things so much easier.”

Not 3 hours later I came across this article in Fortune about the chairman of Samsung.

"In the late 1960s Samsung officially entered the electronics business. In the early years the company was known for cheap televisions and air conditioners. That all changed in 1995, when its chairman, Kun-Hee Lee, paid a momentous visit to the company’s plant in Gumi, a factory town in south-central Korea. Legend has it that Lee had sent out the company’s newest mobile phones as New Year’s presents and was horrified when word came back that they didn’t work. Later, at Gumi, he made a giant heap of the factory’s entire inventory and had it set on fire."

May we take the precedent of whatever it is our lives have been about until now and make a big heap of it. May we douse it with the fuel of shock and discouragement and pain and skepticism and light it up. Watch it burn. It doesn’t matter what you’ve made up till now if isn’t what you want it to be. If it doesn’t work or doesn’t inspire.

Screw other people’s questions. Go build something. That’s the Stacy Doctrine. And may we ever live by it.

About McKay

McKay Writes And Designs

I’m a graphic, UI and product designer. I’m from all over, but São Paulo, Brazil most recently, as I co-founded Baby.com.br. I’m now in the Bay Area working on what could be my magnum opus. I’m a father of a daughter and a son and I’m married to The Startup Wife.

I love writing. I write about what to do and what not to do. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m controversial. But I’m always ready to do something big and crazy.

I’m on Twitter all the time. Let’s talk.

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