Where Invention Comes From

An epic struggle between the Titans of Old and New is brewing in Hollywood, with Adobe and Apple cast in starring roles.

Earlier this year, Apple surprised the industry with its newest version of Final Cut Pro X for professional video editors, i.e. moviemakers. As is their wont, Apple “thought different” about what video editing could be and thoroughly redesigned the workflow. Many decried their heresy in challenging the old metaphor, and Adobe took advantage by offering Apple customers a steep discount for switching over to their more traditional Premiere product.

To date, Apple has not backed down, and some open-minded bloggers [1] have rightly noted Apple’s long history of successfully thinking outside the box. In fact, the original text from Apple’s Think Different ad campaign from 1997 speaks volumes about their most recent announcement:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. [2]

Beyond this debate about video editing tools, Apple’s quote says a lot about where true invention comes from. Companies like Tesla recently achieved recognition as America’s 4th automaker (alongside GM, Ford and Chrysler), not by timidly playing by old internal-combustion-engine rules, but by taking a big chance with a pricey, electron-sipping concept car that caught many peoples’ attention. [3]

I think this story can be applied closer to home, in the small decisions any of us may make about starting a new business, exploring a different country, choosing a college major or even applying paint to canvas. I like to remember that not so many years ago, in the grand scheme of things, the world was decidedly flat.


  1. Former Avid employee on Final Cut Pro X (MacDailyNews)
  2. Think Different (Wikipedia)
  3. Tesla Going For Broke Or Big Time (Edmunds)

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