The quintessential element of the rebel’s way is rebellion. The rebel therefore ceases to be a rebel when he stops rebelling. This idea is traceable to the immutable laws of nature herself: there is no room for stagnation and therefore “eternal vigilance” (i.e. continuous action) is required for simple continuous existence. Even the unprogressive must continue to do what they do albeit in the same old fashion to remain afloat.
The hummingbird is among the most interesting of our feathered co-inhabitants of the planet. Among its unique feature is the ability to hover in one spot by rapidly flapping its wings at the staggering 50 times per second creating the humming sound that gave it, its name. Generally, flight should mean covering distances which they do at 54km/h. It takes effort to maintain one position and gives credence to the assertion; nature has no room for stagnation. Anything that stands still immediately begins to deteriorate. Leave your food there for too long and it begins to rot. Stagnant water in a matter of time becomes the habitat of undesirables. Attempt to hover mid-air without flapping your winds and you will fall flat on your face.
Change has been described as the only constant; nothing ever stays the same. To remain relevant one needs to be dynamic i.e. continue to change. This is the reason why a method or strategy that may have worked yesterday either needs to change completely today or improve. The case for innovation has never been clearer.
“Rebels” — those who defy the odds and shift paradigms in order to bring humanity to new thresholds are change makers. It may seem to the uninformed eye however, that once they have made the great change, the job is done. Not the case. Like the hummingbird they need to keep flapping their wings even if they want to stay where they are—“maintain balance”. This idea is very evident in the work of innovators of our time. Any Facebook user will tell you how dynamic the website has been over the years. It is not enough that Zuckerburg was able to get billions of people to subscribe to the service by providing them with irresistibly appealing software that literally hooks the user in record time. He needed to do more if he was going to maintain the spot and this he and his team does effectively. To do this, the rebel will need the support of a team of disciples who share in this passion of consistent rebelliousness. A team that have bought into the idea of consistently changing and innovating. This explains why Facebook is rumored to have over seven hundred developers who are continuously finding better ways to do things on the site. Team work is key at this point to maintain balance.
Not too long after the Facebook success, Google the giant in the land with its huge database of users tried to wrestle the market out of the hands of Zuckerburg and his team. This was supposed to be an easy task for Google who already had the advantage of a database full of extremely satisfied users on its Gmail system. Something kept Facebook ahead regardless. It is the ability to adopt, innovate and respond to changing trends—often setting new ones. Google itself has showed that building and maintaining a highly innovative team was how you stay in the lead. It is how they slayed Microsoft the giant.
The likes of Zukerburg and Jobs must be a restless bunch. Anyone who has seen the Jobs movie knows about his insatiable need to innovate and create products that set the trends, change the game and lead the market. Such persons may be problematic to all of us in more than one way (they are rebels after all) but are also pivotal to the growth of our civilization. Jobs was a very team dependent rebel although there are questions about his people management skills.
Maintaining the balance once you have broken a barrier may not be an easy task unless innovation is in one’s DNA. Without that, the rebel soon becomes the ordinary. For once the game changes, it becomes the new normal in a matter of time. It will take another rebel to bring things to the next level. To remain relevant, rebels continue to innovate, grow, and break new grounds. To do that they need a team of rebels. This is life’s own little law. Anything that remains stagnant begins to deteriorate. The hummingbird’s ability to hover in the same spot comes from that flapping of its wing. Zuckerburg’s ownership of the social media sphere has everything to do with continuous rebelliousness. Steve Jobs has an insatiable need to innovate and is very team dependent. Samsung appears to have learnt this rule very well. Google have remained at the top after they changed how we use search engines and electronic mail—they have one of the most innovative teams in the world. It is the very nature of their being and it keeps them ahead. If you are reveling somehow, make sure you have the rebel gene.