To me, the salient characteristic of someone with vision is the ability to see the future, and take you there. They do in such a way that when you look back, you're able to see the dots they connected as they did that.
Steve Jobs was such a visionary. Some people do their best thinking while driving, or engaging in physical activities like walking, running, others like to flip through photographs and images. Where do you do your best thinking?
When it comes to visionaries, Jobs is a pattern hunter:
Steve Jobs “stood back”: “You can’t really predict what will happen,” he said. “But you can feel the direction you’re going. And that’s about as close as you can get. Then you just stand back and get out of the way, and these things take on a life of their own.”
He saw the world of personal computers, then how technology would evolve to be an extension of our lives, and led the creation of a series of products that literally disrupted the way we thought about technology.
Forget optimization. In a crowded market you need to stand above the competition with truly disruptive technology and not apart with a "me too" plan done better.
We need more visionaries
As we say in our dual panel proposal for SxSW interactive next March: Neither innovation nor best practices are good enough anymore. It is the value of your promise and the wisdom of the trade that earns your place in the market.
Disruptive technology is both meaningful -- relevant, private, and personal - *and* commercially viable (even in the early stages).
A technology is disruptive when it helps a business make and keep the best of all promises and get in exchange the things that go to making that business stronger, more resilient, and enduring.
The hardest part for visionaries is to sell their ideas. The best thing you can do about skeptics and naysayers is to embrace them, educate them about your roadmap, take them along, step by step. The prize is your business - the product and service that is the asset worth trading.
Conversations are markets. Vote now, add your questions and comments, and we will find a way to have the conversation. Your business depends on your vision.
Are you a visionary?