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Why a steel mill is the same as an apple orchard

Why a steel mill is the same as an apple orchard

You would think a steel mill has nothing more to do with an apple orchard as garbage dump has to do with creating art. But they are all linked and, that link is the key to unlocking problems.

As individuals we never end up where we wanted to be.

In business, we struggle to end up where we intended.

We try to force business to be some inorganic thing.  We think businesses are manufactured just like the forged steel that started the industrial revolution, but even that steel wasn’t ‘manufactured’.

All businesses that exist in the universe also must follow the laws of the universe. A business is not a human creation, but the result of something a human did within the laws of the universe. 

We are not gods, we do not create from nothing.  We no more create businesses than a farmer creates an apple orchard, we just move things around and reorganise them.

These laws apply beyond physical product but also to the whole of business and our lives.

Newton’s three laws of motion are as good a place as any to start.

Newton’s 1st law - Inertia

  • A body will keep doing what it’s doing unless there is some external force to change its state. A body at rest will stay at rest, and a body moving in a straight line will continue moving in a straight line.

  • Your business and life will keep going as they are unless either you, or the external environment make a change.  So rather than be the victim of uncontrollable external change, you can be the catalyst of the chage.

Newton’s 2nd law - acceleration

  • Accelerating an object depends on the force and the mass of the object. So the more mass of an object, the more force required to accelerate it. 

  • Accelerating a heavy car requires more energy than to accelerate a light car.

  • In business terms, the bigger the business, the more force needed to accelerate it. I think the same applies to ideas.  The bigger and more entrenched the idea, the more force (convincing) required to move it.

Newton’s 3rd law - Action

  • Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

  • The more more money you spend on training, the greater the service. The more time you spend designing products, the more functional they’ll be, but the slower you’ll be to market.  The less time you spend in development, the quicker you’ll be to market but the less functional the design. This is the law of tradeoffs, and they don’t come free.

These laws apply to a steel mill as they do to an apple orchard, as they do to your personal life, and even your ideas.

There’s no free ride. 

What can Lego, Cycling and IKEA teach us about meaning?

What can Lego, Cycling and IKEA teach us about meaning?

General knowledge is not common

General knowledge is not common