Old companies aren't built on "I don't know."

For the last three months I’ve been “not working” as I care full time for my three month old son. It is exhilarating and scary. What does it mean to my career to take at least six months off of work?

I’ve been reflecting on the things that I did not like at the places I’ve worked the past few years, both my own companies and the consulting I’ve done. Several of the projects I’m working on are stalled. One in particular, which I had great excitement about, is stalled because I don’t know how to build the user interface for what I want users to see.

The concept of “I don’t know” is acceptable to me as I work on my own projects. But, I notice that I often had “I don’t know” moments with other companies, and I always was good at faking an answer. I never felt like saying “I don’t know” was a good answer.

Too often, this meant I worked in directions which had no benefit to the company. This was a waste of their time and money.

There is a certain value to working without knowing for sure how to do something. And, there is a great value in taking pause, stopping and listening to the “I don’t know” for a while. I believe the new companies created in the digital age, companies based on creativity and expression, will need to get used to hearing “I don’t know” and sitting with that.

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