January 22

There are two things that can instantly suffocate or crush creative work:

1.Not enough runway to get the project in the air

2.Stifling overhead that strangles the life out of the work

Runway consists of the margin necessary to wade through the early, uncertain days of the project. It can be financial runway (so that you have the time to iterate and get the work right), personnel runway (so that you have enough people to make the work manageable), or credibility runway (a project is championed by someone important enough to ensure that it stays on the list of priorities). It’s important to determine how much runway you need so that you are certain that you’ll give yourself the best chance at success.

Similarly, overhead can stifle a project before it even gains momentum. If there is tremendous pressure to succeed early because of high overhead, whether that’s headcount or debt, it can be difficult to shape the work into what it’s capable of becoming. Instead, you’ll aim for what’s most practical, the immediate payout.

As you take on a new project, whether it’s launching a new division or starting your own business, consider how much runway you’ll truly need to get the project in the air, and always aim to minimize the amount of overhead you carry so that you have the margin to make good decisions.

Successful creative work requires that you have sufficient runway and manageable overhead.

How can you either increase your runway or minimize your overhead?

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