What is a Visionary? What does it take to be called one?
Well, it could be one who is called crazy, or laughable. But here is the actual definition:
“Given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes”
Fanciful! Not presently workable! Unpractical!
Yes, that is a visionary. What is the difference between visionary and revolutionary? The ability to turn vision into reality.
Vision is seeing what others haven’t. Revolutions are putting into actions the visions that can make change.
In my opinion, it takes both to be a true visionary, because without action and implementation, there is no change.
Is it visionary alone to see what others can’t? Or to do what hasn’t been done? Or is it also visionary to recognize genius in the work of others?
Think about Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ives. You don’t know that story? You should check it out.
What started Apple along one of many upward trajectories was the “creation” by Jonathan, and the “vision” by Steve Jobs to recognize that revolution that could become.
See, a visionary also has to be willing to take a risk. And yes, he must be willing to fail.
Anyone remember the Newton? It was a Steve Jobs (Apple) creation early on in the PDA wars. It failed, mostly because it was ahead of its time. At its core failure, was the attempt to “learn” the handwriting of everyone (input). So this failure of the Newton, lead years later to the BIG win with the iPhone (which is a simple, simple user interface and is drastically geared toward output).
Yes, even the “great” Steve Jobs has failures. A Visionary has to be willing to step outside of the cultural norms, to push the envelope, to have confidence in his visions (or the creation of others), and to believe that you can create a revolution and enact change.
There is a dramatic lack of hubris in one who can take input, creativity, and design from others, while still driving your own vision forward.
But, above all, a visionary must have an unfailing belief they will succeed.
Below is a cartoon I had drafted for web site we had created in July of 2000. It was done to take a humorous swipe at the establishment, and the site was much like the Onion is today.
This particular cartoon was done to make fun of the VC’s (Venture Capitalist) in Chicago.
However, this could easily be taken in context of what a visionary may go through when presenting an idea to a jaundiced audience.
Where does that lead? To the cartoon below, which was my recreation of what Mr. Jobs may have gone through at his first presentation for the Apple Computer?
I hope you enjoy.
Ps- my favorite bubble was the last one, as each of the companies had failed (sorry Mr. Nolan Bushnell to have lumped Atari in there)
“Bringing Visions to Reality”