Many years ago I worked at an entry-level job in recruitment, moving newly qualified accountants from one accounting firm to another (not an easy sell, by the way: the last thing accountants want to do after qualifying is stay in a practice). My boss, Jeff, told me that before I could do anything, I would have to become an accountant. He made me research the profession for 6 weeks straight and give him a presentation every Monday morning on some aspect or other of the accountancy trade. I hated it, but when I started speaking to accountants, I was able to speak like one of them. Mix that in with 30 connected phonecalls per day (usually about 80–100 attempted ones) and I had the “secret sauce” to buying my first house at age 25 a few months later.

So whilst I do believe that innovation is important, sometimes the real differentiator between success and failure is the realisation that detail matters, and the willingness to toil for mastery and coverage of that detail.

CEO & Founder of Firedrop.

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