The stuff on the side is important. Sometimes, the afterthoughts, the things we focus on least, pay the most. Smart organizations build time to purse passion into their cultures.
Some of the most important ideas of our time were spawned on the side:
- Tim-Berners-Lee did nuclear research full time - invented the Web, on the side.
- Evan Williams* focused on a new media search engine full-time - invented Twitter, on the side.
- Mark Zuckerburg went to Harvard full-time - invented Facebook, on the side.
*Williams was working at a start-up funded by angel money, so focus was critical, but he still knew it was important enough to pursue his self-described addictive messaging service, now used by 4.5 million people.
If you have an idea, a feeling, a thought, find time to work on it. Follow your hunches even if you can't justify them or know where they're going to go.
You never know when your fries might turn into gold.