13 year old Bobby Fischer was facing off against one of America’s leading chess masters, Donald Byrne.
On only the 18th move, in what seemed amateurish at the time, Fischer allowed Byrne to take his Queen. This usually signifies the beginning of the end of the match. A crowd gathered to watch the young Fischer presumably get put in his place by a veteran chess master. But just four moves later, Byrne was consistently being put in check by Fischer. And 20 moves later Bobby Fischer had Byrne in checkmate.
It turned out that the moment Bobby Fischer offered up his Queen, the match was over – no matter what Byrne did. Fischer won the game through several small moves that led to an inevitable win.
When businesses are struggling, whether it’s in a down economy or in start-up stage, the first instinct is to look for the “big” deal/idea/move.
But “big” rarely works.
The mosquito is always on the hunt for the big kill and is almost never successful. How many times have you been bitten by a mosquito and it survived the swat of your hand?
Success in anything almost always comes from the aggregate of several small steps in the right direction.
Even Facebook gained initial success through several small moves. When expanding beyond Harvard, they were also competing with a few similar social networks along with internal social networks at colleges. Some of the larger universities were hesitant, so Facebook targeted several of the small surrounding colleges, thus pressuring the larger schools into approving Facebook.
Facebook got big by focusing on the small.
Looking for a magic bullet? There’s almost never one. Instead focus on making small positive, consistent strides towards your larger goal.
Act like a Chess Player not a Mosquito.
Connect with me on Twitter: @BenNesvig