Curiousity-driven work

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Jason Fried wrote about what he calls the “Two i’s” – important and interesting:

For a long time I’ve felt like the only thing worth working on is the next most important thing. Why spend time working on something that’s less important if there’s something more important that needs work?

I’ve changed my mind on this. I think it’s always good to be working on two things: The next most important thing, and the next most interesting thing.

Last week, Kinnon and I attended an event at MaRS that featured Bill Buxton and Bill Reeves in conversation. In it, Bill Buxton talked about  “curiosity-driven work.” He lamented that so many technical people at universities are focused on building businesses and commercially viable projects, rather than pursing what truly piques their interest (even if it might not be financially fruitful).

“You can’t predict where the great ideas are going to come from,” Buxton said. “The university needs to cultivate smart people with imagination.”

Rings true to me.

It seems like a lot of what ends up being important starts out as simply interesting.