Walt Disney: Innovator. Dreamer. Animator. Wordsmith?
Normally, the word “plus” is a conjunction, but to Mr. Disney, it was a verb. He would tell his Imagineers to “plus it” as a way to motivate them to take their work to another level. He challenged them to see what was possible, and then take it a step further…and then a step beyond that. Taking it from good to great to mind-blowing.
My favorite example of Disney plussing it? He decided to hold a Christmas parade at a new park with a price tag of $350,000. His accountants begged him not to spend money on an extravagant parade because the people would already be there; nobody would complain if it didn’t happen because nobody would be expecting it. Disney responded, “We should do the parade precisely because no one’s expecting it.” He knocked it out of the park (with his response, and his idea. Oh, Walt).
There is an inspiring lesson here. What if we all set out to “plus” everything we did? Think about your own product or service – once you think you’ve nailed it, how can you “plus it” to make it even better? One-up yourself to deliver something beyond what your customer or employer expects from you. And then once you think you have it figured out, go further to “plus it” some more.
At Digital Telepathy, our entire company runs off of betterment, a philosophy that encourages us to make incremental improvements in order to create exponential results. Several years ago, after clients kept asking for content sliders, our Dev team built an internal tool for creating them – which eventually became our product, SlideDeck. The plugin proved really useful but we knew we could make it better, so after a year, we tore it down to the foundations, and launched a second version with a refined interface and new features.
This led to the creation of an array of products, including Hello Bar, Impress, and Arrrows. As we created more and more apps and tools, we realized a significant need to make the installation process easier for all web apps, so we created a single platform where all of our products could live: Filament, the world’s first app store for your website. The whole process was a result of plussing it until it manifested into an entirely new facet of our company.
Being surrounded by such innovation, I’m inspired to set the bar and then surpass it. I’m taking a cue from Walt Disney, as well as my kickass co-workers, to “plus” my way toward my greatest potential by producing fantasmic work that I’m hella proud of (tell me you got the Disney reference). And not to do it because it’s expected but because it’s thrilling.
So instead of being confined by the walls we often build ourselves, I officially invite you to join me in grabbing a sledgehammer and crushing any and all expectations. Let’s astonish ourselves and “plus” our way toward being the best we can be. Ready, set, go.
P.S. This blog post was plussed. You should have seen the first draft. Blah!