What is a vision?

This is more of a quick note than a full post. I hope it helps others who are trying to change this pale blue dot for the better! [watch this, it explains a lot and is very enlightening]

Recently as MaidSafe has come out of the shadows it has been very interesting to watch from the sidelines. People seem to split into many camps

  • Don’t care
  • Not reading this
  • Not listening
  • Rubbish
  • Scammers
  • Canny happen
  • These folk are nuts
  • This is amazing
  • Wow cannot wait
  • Freedom at last

And so on. It’s an interesting thing to watch.

What vision

MaidSafe have had the same vision since day 1. Privacy Security and Freedom for all the worlds people. This is what is interesting. Practically nobody disputes this vision, many actually actively support it and see it as significant. Lets assume for the rest of this article this is true of most people. I cannot see anyone not wanting these foundations of a society anyway.

I believe I have noted three basic groups of people in the journey so far and more in number in the last few weeks. the ratio seems solid though. I shall try to describe what I have seen, not that I am trying to say that this is always the case or even a repeatable pattern. I do find it intriguing though. So I am noting it down.

The care later (maybe) group

Now lets look back at the list. It is actually very representative of what I have witnessed. So about 1/3 care about the vision, but cannot be bothered to hear about it or invest time looking at how it may be achieved. These people have different immediate goals and do not want bothered with more work to do.

I think these people have many reasons for this behaviour:

  • Too busy
  • Too tired
  • Too stressed
  • have very urgent issues to deal with
  • Do not see the problem

Who can blame these people for apparently not caring in your vision. Sounds like they have their own issues to work on and these issues at this time are more important.

You have a desire to change the world, give up everything and they do not care! Well they do care, but it’s not their time, that time is later on. These people are not your enemy, they are not opposed to your dream, they frankly do not care, but in the nicest way, they really do not care if you win or lose. Not yet anyway!

The no way team

The next 1/3 immediately shun the idea and to do that effectively. They simply state it has some fundamental flaw. This 1/3 are interesting. Some invest zero time and just throw out statements, often very hurtful and cutting. Some read headlines and presume total knowledge and some simply refuse to believe it. These people will inflict any pain they can to stop a change dead in its tracks. It becomes their duty and they will try very hard to do that.

These people also fall into various categories I think.

Lied to before

This group is understandably stand offish. Like a police officer who deals with crooks continually, they see every person as a threat. Every opportunity as a con. This group is actually OK and a few messages back and forth and they start to wonder, what if? As long as you are honest, true and really believe in your vision, these people can become supporters. It is not an easy thing to speak with these people, sort of like cuddling a porcupine really, but many times it will be worth it. They actually want this to be true, but have been bitten, possibly more than once.

They need to be persuaded you are honest and capable, that is all really and in all honesty it is not a big ask.

Protectors of the status quo

This is the group that will see a plane fly overhead and still deny flight is possible. This is a tough group. Many here may even revert to statements like, well even if the rest is true you have a silly name, how can we take that seriously. Occasionally they just shout scam or fraud and then put their fingers in their ears. This is the horse you take to water and it refuses to drink, it would prefer to die than admit to needing a drink.

All is not lost, I think this group just need to see they will not drown drinking from a pool. They need reassurance this will not be sore or somehow damage them. You need to guide them off the path, they will not go far so you need to show them quickly there are no dragons living in the bushes.

These people will take several hours to persuade that they should look further. It is a porcupine thing though, you will continually be jagged as they tense up and stick you repeatedly. So you need your Kevlar skin suite to deal with them.

Cannot leave the ego at the door

Well these people, I believe have given up on education, they have stopped learning and will take way too much time to persuade. They will not speak to you anyway, instead shout at you for their supporters to hear and applaud their genius (an immediate giveaway). These people will do everything to kill your project and idea off. In fact these people will show immense strength and tenacity to make you just go away and die. Yes they would like to see you disappear and never come back, no matter the price.

There is nothing you can do, these people will suck any energy from you and will give everything they have to fight change. The only way to win here is to be polite, fix obvious errors in any statement and move on, do not look back and never read the reply to your polite statements. It will honestly just suffocate you.

The kindred spirits

The last 1/3 are interesting though, many will not really know much detail, but want the change you have noticed so badly they jump right in. However, then something magical happens, they ask and they ask a lot. The more they find out the deeper they are involved and more convinced this is worthwhile. Many of these people, will just know this is special and become great friends. It is a humbling experience.

This is where your strength is actually challenged, not fighting the second group, but supporting this third group. You now not only have shared a vision, you have support and this support becomes the bedrock of your vision. Break this and it is all over.  This group though will amaze! After very polite hello’s and introductions this group will defend, not you, but the vision. They came here for this vision, not for you and that is great. The vision will be more important than you.

This third group now do something rather amazing, after a small amount of time, you are them and they are you. A transformation or metamorphosis occurs that changes everyone involved. The vision is still solid and arguably even more cemented in place. The legions of people who are willing it to happen, by moral support, encouragement, new ideas, questions and occasionally helping with the manufacturing process is now doing something you could not.  They are growing in all directions, new sites appear, people across the Internet start supporting and defending (dealing with the 2nd group) this vision. Everyone starts working out ways to me more involved  and turn a vision into a reality.

Who owns a vision?

This is a great question, it is like asking who owns a particular word, or who owned the wheel or even who owns your telephone or tv. The people who get involved believe in a vision, there may be people who pushed this vision and worked to make it happen, but they cannot own it. It is such a strange thing to ask when you think of it. So why then during the 90’s and on did companies all rush to come up with a vision statement, put it in a glass box and shove it on a wall? More importantly why did these companies not know what they were in business to achieve, or was their goal purely profit?

Herein lies the big difference. If you look at some of the successful large companies you will notice something particular about them. No matter what happens after they IPO as that’s another matter, they are then obliged to increase profit at all costs. Before that though, these large successful companies had a clear vision, to connect everyone, to index all the worlds data, to make computing available to all in a stunning package etc. The successful companies seemed to have a clear vision and the community wanted it to happen.

What is a vision?

This is pretty clear I think. A vision is noticing that we can advance a little as a society. People can imagine that if things were to be changed a little then we all would live better. The vision that is inclusive and fair gains momentum fastest. This is evolution, so a vision is merely a step in an evolutionary chain. Just as species will physically evolve to better work in its surroundings. A vision is important to allow us to evolve and make better use of our surroundings. That is all.

Why the 2nd group then?

This group is actually important in many ways. Any change that is dramatic, is likely not fully thought out and tested. This second group forces the vision to be tested and their opposition to it actually makes it stronger and more likely to succeed, if it is indeed an added value to society. Whether these people can see that or not, they are vital to big change, the tenacity and grim determination to kill something off, often makes it stronger. This is like a comprehensive set of tests on the network in our case.

The wild accusations etc. are just fluff and easily seen by many as just noise. The deeper probing of this community can be a very effective tool, the key here is to not take it personally, even when it’s delivered in an extremely personal way. Inwardly thank these people, but never to their face, that would drive them mental.

So this second group are vicious, dangerous and absolutely required. An interesting point.

Nature allows evolution, but does so very slowly. Many evolutionary steps in organisms is once every 20,000 generations, so not fast. The reason is that the surroundings need to also adapt to these change in a species. The surrounding species need to also evolve to become more efficient. Otherwise imbalance happens. This second group merely act as the brake and slow down change in many ways. This is perhaps why nature made us in this way, so we can all evolve together. Look at schools, they still teach primarily Newtonian physics and almost ignore quantum physics, even after 40 years. Change takes time, not matter how obvious it is.

What is the lesson?

The lesson is not one for the masses, it is one for you, the reader. Change is something we have inbuilt in our species, it drives many and we all take part in many ways. You need to embrace all the parties involved and realise that nobody owns a vision, nobody can. The more you share your vision and the quicker it becomes a vision of a movement who may not (if you are lucky) even know the name of the originator. If you have such a vision, then believe in that vision above all else, above profit, above ego and most of all above your own self. If anyone can help you achieve this then take that help, even if it is a competitor, after all did you not go after a vision!

An important point is that you can only hope to create the seed of change, it will take many iterations to get right. Look at anything, the first phone, bitcoin or the first car etc. many people will try to stop you by pointing out something that is not required now (like a fancy braking system for a Ford model T). Do not try to put ABS in your Model T, just make it drive first, remember evolution is a continual thing and you do not need to aim for perfection, although detractors will use lack of perfection as a reason your vision is flawed.

Who cares who cured smallpox, polio or who created the first wheel, we just care these got cured or discovered. All of your effort is to help the vision come true, if you believe it is yours or is personal you will lose immediately. If you truly believe  in the vision and what it will mean for everyone and remove yourself from ‘ownership’ then that vision will take on a strength that is just not possible to stop. You become part of a team to make this happen, you may even be thrown out the team, who knows. If you see the vision come to life and fulfill the promise, should you really care who did it? (I don’t)

Enthusiastic human :-)

Tagged with:
Posted in Personal Opinion, strategy
4 comments on “What is a vision?
  1. dllasoff says:

    David, Thanks for you positive and genuinely healthy enthusiasm. This is very refreshing. I am reading a great book by Pieter Hintjens called “Culture & Empire Digital Revolution.” If you want the pdf version, I have it but you can also get it from the web too. Pieter talks about something called social architecture and how he’s used certain principles at ZeroMQ and before. As you’re probably aware, he’s been around for decades. I really think that work groups who employ these principles (which seem very culturally synchronous w/ the Maidsafe community) will thrive. Again, thank you for your vision and giving it away for free…how brilliant!

  2. Udam says:


    I love your writing. Why do we look who, when, why created. Enjoy the creation and be a co-crater/part of the team. We are expanding.

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