When I grew up we played a video game called Lemmings. It was hilarious, challenging (at least in the later levels), and highly addictive. The basic premise of the game: Lemmings are these weird little creatures which, if not directed, walked blindly off a cliff into their certain death (effectively committing mass suicide). Your job was to help them get from one side of the screen to the other.

Don’t go with the crowd. Don’t go against the crowd. Think for yourself. Tweet This Quote

What’s striking about Lemmings (and the misconception about their herd instinct) is the fact that so many people in startup land behave just like the archetypal lemming, They go with the crowd and, thus, create the umm-teenth version of something which has already been invented. (Tinder for Pets!? Uber for Massages!?) The (supposedly) smarter ones go against the crowd, which is not much better, as their theory of change is simply based on negating what everybody else is doing.

Here’s a radical idea: Think. Don’t go with the crowd. Don’t go against the crowd. Think for yourself.

I keep saying that there are no maps. And even if you see a map, it’s never yours. The same goes for everything else in life: Whatever happens around you has already happened (thus, it’s the past) and is, at best, a data point for your own thinking—but never the essence of a new idea.

Step back from your computer, give yourself some serious headspace, and indulge in deep thinking and exploration. That’s how you create truly new and disruptive businesses.

Pascal Finette

Author Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.

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