Skip to content

Moving targets

Marshall McLuhan apparently once wrote that “If it works, it’s obselete.”

He’s wrong of course. The wheel, concrete and the humble fork are just three examples of thousand-year-old-plus technologies that have stuck around exactly because they do their jobs so well. (Okay, okay, so wheels have got lighter since the Flintstones…)

But McLuhan has a point (of course). And I think it’s this: in life, we’re always trying to hit a moving target.

The contexts in which we serve are ever-changing, as are the people we serve and those we work with. We change. “The Possible” shifts. Even long-term visions – or how we undertand them – are subject to change as we learn and grow.

You find a new way and better way to do the things you’ve always done.

Your customer suddenly finds a better way to get the thing they used to get from you – maybe they stop buying altogether.

A hugely productive, superbly commited colleague cuts their hours and contribution at work as they start a family and need to contribute there instead.

Someone new comes along with talent and commitment and resources, and the horizon shifts.

People get tired.

People get inspired.

I think the point is this: it’s easy to get fed up that we’re never quite done, that the goalposts always seem to be moving… but this is a sign that we’re doing more than just making forks. It’s a sign that we’re doing something important, something involving humans – and that we’re alive.

Being alive is a great problem to have.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...