Tech history is short.
In one generation an observer can see a company advance thru it’s life cycle. Companies that endure, change and become something else. What was elastic becomes inelastic, what was durable becomes fragile, and then back again. For a company to maintain a leadership position it has to be willing to fall behind the pack but and then regain it’s lead.
Sporting events are a shorter history. Its everything that tech history is but compressed into a much smaller space. Team sports are difficult to do a reliable postmortem on because of the complexity and are games of mistakes. It is uncertain and chaoctic.
Occasionally I tune into boxing and mixed martial arts. It’s seasonal. I can not watch for a decade and then get re-engaged when a special athlete emerges in a special time.
That is the way is now with Mixed Martial Arts and Conor McGregor, its top athlete and superstar. Prior to his most recent fight I time-stamped my prediction, expecting Conor to win. He has transformed the character and form of combat to frictionless movements. He is the philospher and his rhetoric is mixed martial arts. He explains that art and science are not co-equal. The art is more important.
The art is intellectual, fluid body movements, an adaptive style and the operating principles of combat.
The science are his weapons, feet, hands, knees, elbows, wrestling.
Where do straight lines between startup battles and Conor McGregor connect?
First let me offer this disclaimer, I know boxing and mixed martial art is a physical, painful sport. You might say it is brutal. I might say it is less so than American Football where the injuries are concealed under team uniforms that substitute for country or idelogical flags. I might also say that once someone asked me to buy a very expensive and dreadful painting called ‘I went Picasso with the Aliens’. You might say no-one got hurt and I might say the misguided purchaser was irreparably harmed.
This last week McGregor won his contest in a record 13 seconds. His opponent, Jose Aldo, had been the champion and unbeaten for 10 years. He was the empire and McGregor was the startup on the periphery. The startup won.
These were Conor McGregor quotes after the fight. I won’t burden his words with my interpretation and it is a self evident path between his words and a startup:
Precision beats power. Timing beats speed
When you see it, and you have the courage enough to speak it, it will happen
To the naked eye it was 13 seconds, but to my team and my family it has been a lifetime of work to get to that 13 seconds.