Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Asking Permission

Some time ago someone asked me 'how I got involved in Plan 28' (the project to build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine). Of course, I didn't get involved, I started it.

When I met Doron Swade (to ask him to join up with me), his first words to me were: "Who the hell are you?".

And it occurs to me that there's an important lesson in here: I never asked anyone's permission to start Plan 28 or initiate the project. I just did it. I wanted to do it, so I made it happen.

As soon as you ask permission you put yourself in a weak position. The world is mostly not filled with people trying to stop you do the thing you want to do. It's not filled with people whose permission you need.

If you honestly want something to happen then you just need to go out and do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Long time ago I learned something that stuck with me (direct translation from Portuguese, it holds up pretty well): it is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

Although not universal, it helped me a lot in the last 20 years or so.