Innovation Is for Losers

innovationSent: Sunday, March 3, 7:42 p.m.

From: David, Founder & CEO

To: Chris, Director of IT

Subject: Web Sight Budget


I’ve been putting a lot of thought into our technology budget for this year, and I’m having second thoughts about your request to redo our web sight.

When we started the company in 2002, we paid a lot of money to an Internet developer to build our web sight. He made sure it was compatible with browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer and also made sure it looked good on all different sizes of computers. He did a great job. In fact, even when I look at it today on my iPad it looks pretty good.

I also think the designer template he used still looks good. Maybe we could make the logo a little bigger and use up some of the white space with more copy, but all in all, it works and looks good on my computer.

I don’t really understand why you think it needs to be updated. It seems to be taking payments OK through PayPal, and when I type in our company name in the Google it comes right up. I also don’t understand why you think it’s crucial that people be able to look at our web sight on their telephones. Everything would be so small. Why would someone want to do that?

I know you are going to say that 18 years is too long to go without a refresh, especially now that we only sell our products on the Internet, but you know me, Chris. I’m an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” kind of guy.


From: Chris, Director of IT

To: David, Founder & CEO

Subject: RE: Web Sight Budget

Good morning Dave,

Sorry for the short notice, but I wanted to let you know that Friday was my last day, and I won’t be coming in today, or any other day. Good luck.



First of all, if you have a founder or CEO who uses terms like “web sight,” that should be the first clue that you’re dealing with someone who is grossly incompetent and should have retired a decade or three ago.

But all kidding aside, if you are a leader or business owner who doesn’t understand the importance of technology in every single aspect of your business, then you need to hire someone who does—immediately. Give them the biggest budget you can afford and let them do their job. Technology is here to stay; it should be embraced, not feared. It can be the single most powerful thing that can propel your business into the future Many leaders are casual users or late adopters of technology, or their foray into technology was at a time when many of the tools, platforms, and apps available online felt “free.” There was a time when the do-it-yourself attitude prevailed, and they don’t understand that now, more than ever, the you-get-what-you-pay-for theory rings true.

Embracing technology is just one part of having an innovative mindset, however. Being innovative means, you are willing to evolve, to change, to rethink the methods of the past, and seek out new ideas that are more relevant to today. Innovation isn’t an initiative; it’s a way of thinking and a mode of operating that is always on and ever-present.

Today, “moving at the speed of business” means embracing innovation in everything we do and being open to the fluid business environment that it creates. Great leaders are avid readers, continuously learning how they can take what is happening in the world and in our culture and use this as a platform of ideas for how to evolve their businesses.

The best-laid plans need to have innovation at their core and a “take a step and repeat” approach for long-term planning by continually innovating. “Next year we are going to do something we’ve never done before” is a perfectly reasonable goal when it means we are going to innovate and push ourselves to think outside of our comfort zone.

Leaders who stay comfortable—who hold on to what they know best—or who refuse to invest in innovation, even at the most basic level, will inevitably get left behind in a small, irrelevant cloud of dust.

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