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Never Swerve When Driving the Bus Answered

Here's an interview with Autodesk's CEO, Carl Bass, that hits many of the reasons why I'm still fired up to do the stuff we're doing on Instructables and in Autodesk.  There are frustrations and challenges being in a big company, but the positive impact we can have on the world is undeniably larger.  I particularly like the analogy of measuring the light from a star far away -- the light might still be visible when the source has long ago faded away.

And the analogy for me is that a small company’s a ball-peen hammer; you can move it back and forth really quickly. Big companies are more sledgehammers. It takes a lot to move them, but when you do you can actually have a big impact. So you start realizing that a lot of the work you’re doing, which might not feel that satisfying in the short term, is really necessary so that you can swing the sledgehammer and have a bigger impact.


This is my current fascination: it’s this whole idea about keeping companies entrepreneurial and innovative and cutting-edge. The thing that I worry about a lot is how companies measure themselves. The analogy is that you can see light from a star that burned out a long time ago — it’s 100 light years away, and three years ago that star died. 

Never Swerve When Driving the Bus


So this means you are driving a runaway Autobus on Freeway 105 trying to keep the speed above 50 new ibles per hour?

Did you read the interview? I thought it was a pretty inspiring read.

All inspiration, very little actual content.

I've been in the audience for such "inspiration" many times before, and seen absolutely nothing change in the organisation concerned, whether it has been a school or a business. Heck, I've even delivered it myself.

What is instructables right now? A ball-peen bouncing off a sledgehammer?

Puppet or power?

I'd be much, much more impressed if he had actually stated some plans, large or small, detailed or rough. I listen to people who speak plainly, and do what they say. I don't listen to suit-fillers who talk like poets on piece-work.

I would dismiss this second quote as maybe a poor choice of analogy to use but I can only be interpret that as a subconscious expression of buyer's remorse. We bought it based on what we saw. We own it. It's coasting. Now What? Full stop or straight ahead until it runs out of steam? By the way, the tailpipe seems to have fallen off and dragging on the ground. Interesting how stocks are taking a turn as this gets discussed. Pump the stocks now.

I don't think he was speaking specifically about Instructables, I think he was just generally laying the ground-work for excuses to shareholders when AD takes the inevitable hit from the recession; "it may look bad, but these numbers were already out of date when they were first published - the company has moved on since then".

You may be more righter. Better check that spot of oil on the ground.

Yes, and did you? I believe I have more experience in interpreting corporatespeak.

It is the wrong opinion, old man! And wipe that look off your face this instant, it's facecrime!


6 years ago

He sounds like a great guy to work with. Not only is it important not to swerve when driving the bus but to remember to keep your foot on the gas.

I worked for a company many years ago where we had meetings that would last all day long and nothing would get accomplished because management couldn't make a decision and move forward. They were so afraid of doing something wrong that they never had the chance to get it right. It was unbelievably frustrating.