On Moving Fast & Breaking Things
Mark Zuckerberg famously proclaimed, “Move fast and break things. The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough.”
This philosophy has served him well (mostly, anyway) and is at the heart of the hacker culture revolutionizing our social and business worlds.
These are exciting times as our cultures and practices shift into unknown territory. With these shifts, however, come new questions and responsibilities.
“Moving fast” and providing quick bursts of information is what much of what social media feeds on. In particular with Twitter, if you aren’t posting in real time, the information quickly becomes irrelevant.
I’m an absolute current events junkie, and living in Hollywood I get my fix by following police scanner Tweets from @Hollywood311 and @LAScanner. When we heard that protesters angry about the Trayvon Martin verdict were marching into Hollywood, Brian and I grabbed our cameras and headed into the fray (I have a not-so-buried dream of being a combat photographer).
What most struck me about the protest was one woman, Sharlia, who calmly reigned within the eye of the storm. Was she angry? Yes. Was she determined to make her voice heard? Absolutely. But not only did she do it in a fiercely peaceful way – but with a simple gesture or look she was able to calm the most outraged protestors. In my opinion, its because of her that the protest did not culminate into street violence.*
When we got home and began looking at the video we shot, I was tempted to “move fast” and immediately upload a bunch of random raw footage on Youtube. But trained as a documentary filmmaker, I held back. You see, the other half “moving fast” is “breaking things”. I saw a bunch of short clips others had uploaded and they offered no context of how things unfolded. Maybe I lost out on “going viral”, but instead I took about a week to piece together a story as I saw it unfold.
I didn’t “move fast”, because I wasn’t willing to break things in this case. As we saw in the case of the falsely accused Boston Bomber, Sunil Tripathi, sometimes when we move fast, things are tragically broken.
* As seen at the end of the video, a handful of people were arrested as the protestors left. Those who were arrested remained and spoke nothing about Trayvon Martin, but instead screamed insults and taunts at the police.