Voices Of Innovation: Jeff Hawkins
Let's talk about serial innovators. What's the secret to success?
I don't know if there's a secret to success. I've had a great deal of success myself. I also have had my share of failure. To me, being a great innovator is like batting in baseball. If you're batting .300 or .350, you're doing pretty well. Most people, they never get a hit. I try to think very hard about what's ultimately going to happen. Ultimately, everything's going to be wireless. Ultimately, everything's going to be portable. I figured that out a long time ago.
The trick is once you see that long-term vision, you then ask yourself, how do I get there step by step? You can't just solve all the problems at once and bingo, you have an industry. No, you have to solve a whole bunch of those problems, and along the way you have to make money while you're doing it.
And so what steps do you do? Even though I thought all computers would be mobile computers at some point, we said we can't do the wireless piece. We could do a connected organizer, and bingo, we did that. You always have the future vision in place. That tells you what you have to do.
Can a company be a big innovator?
Companies don't innovate; people do. If you're going to innovate, you have to overcome problems. In a startup, you're going to have all these people telling you you're wrong. If you're at a big company, you're going to have all these people telling you you're wrong. It takes a lot of nerve and perseverance. You have to keep fighting the battles.