Lessons from the “The Messy Middle”

Scott Belsky is Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. He co-founded Behance in 2006 and served as CEO until it was acquired by Adobe in 2012. He is the author of Making Ideas Happen and his new book is The Messy Middle.

“We love talking about starts and finishes, even though the middle stretch is the most important and often the most ignored and misunderstood. We don’t talk about the middle because we’re not proud of the turbulence of our own making and the actions we took out of despair.” “Creating something from nothing is a volatile journey.” “The first mile births a new idea into existence, and the final mile is all about letting go.” “No extraordinary journey is linear. In reality, the middle is extraordinarily volatile — a continuous sequence of ups and downs, flush with uncertainty and struggle.”

All businesses operate in an environment that is almost entirely driven by uncertainty and ignorance. Creating a business, a new product or improving an existing product involve processes that are almost never merely risky like playing games at a casino. Business inevitably involves a never-ending series of idiosyncratic decisions for which there are sometimes best practices. This means that making decisions based solely on statistical factors and recipes is impossible. This is why business is best described as an art that is often informed by science.

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