17 July 2011 by in #WhyGuy, No Comments

 Pendulum Sextant

In business, you’re constantly exploring the next best course of action.  Recently, while reading Scott Stratten’s book Unmarketing, where he talked about Version 2.0 and how some people never get their ideas off the ground because they are paralyzed with making it perfect before launching, I was reminded of how valuable just getting started can be.  That failure to launch can be a block to success, only if you don’t know that you can make corrections along the way.  Ever hear of a product that is, “New and Improved?”  How about “Version 2.0″ within the tech world?

It made me think of the NASA Apollo program.  On any routine voyage to the moon, it was unrealistic to think that you could do enough math to just point the rocket, fire the engines and PRESTO you were in lunar orbit.  In order to get to the moon (and back home to mother Earth) safely, NASA and especially the brave Command Module Pilot (CMP), had to make life affecting midcourse corrections.

One of my favorite exchanges was during the Apollo 11 mission where Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) Bruce McCandless, was relaying data to CMP Michael Collins almost exactly half way between the Earth and the moon.

Apollo 11

At just under 24 hours Ground Elapse Time (GET), McCandless relays over to the Command Module, “Okay. For today, we’d like you, on P23, to make a trunnion (1) bias determination prior to P23 sightings, as called out in the procedures, and also one afterwards. Our intent here is to check out the possibility that some sort of thermal effect may be giving you errors in the angular read-out in the sextant. The bias that you get beforehand should be incorporated, that is a Proceed on Noun 87 after you get two consecutive measurements equal to within 0.003 degrees. And, of course, move the trunnion off a couple of degrees between the measurements. The Earth should be a lot smaller in your field of view today. I’m sure you’re a lot more qualified to tell us about that than we are, but to ensure that you’re getting a good angle measurement between the star and the Earth horizon, the sextant (2)M-line, which is the line that runs through the two hash marks and is perpendicular to the R-line, should be parallel to the Earth horizon at the substellar point. And then the actual superimposition (3) of the star upon the horizon can be made at any point in the field of view of the sextant: above, below, or on the M-line. We recommend the marks be made as rapidly as possible after the Auto maneuver. If you feel that the amount of time between the Auto maneuver and the time you get ready to mark is excessive, or that you don’t like that Auto maneuver attitude when you get ready to mark, of course, you can use a Verb 94 – Verb 94 to get you back to the flashing 51 position to redo the Auto maneuvers. Over.”  …and that’s just how it started.

Wait, what??!??  P23, Trunnion, Sextant, Noun 87, M-line, R-line, The Substellar Point, Superimposition, Verb 94, The Flashing 51 Position….Over?  Not to mention,  ”after you get two consecutive measurements equal to within 0.003 degrees (And, of course, move the trunnion off a couple of degrees between the measurements).” It’s times like this I’m glad I got over my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. As fascinated as I am by all this, I’m much happier just being an entrepreneur.


That being said, what does this have to do with you?  Well, simply put, what you are doing with your life/business may not be exactly on target with your intended goal.  Perhaps it’s time for a midcourse correction?  What does that look like?  How do you execute your correction?  I’m sure you have answers to many questions, but who do you turn to when you don’t?  Perhaps it’s time to create your own business MOCR. 

Or are you still on the launch pad?  Got that great idea and you’d love to make it a powerful startup that everyone will talk about.  Only you’re waiting for VC funding, or your designer to come back with skins for your website.  Stop waiting for your ideas to be perfect before talking them to the world. That only grounds your potential on the launch pad.

Remember, you can always make corrections. Navigating your business success is very analogous to going to the moon. There’s no way you can do enough math to know that you can just point your rocket, fire the engines and PRESTO you’re in the orbit of your desired outcome.


Read my last post here: Say Anything

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