“Consolidate your interest while the lights are active.”

No books talk today — more next week, I promise:

Recently I received a somewhat infamous fortune cookie fortune: “Consolidate your interest while the lights are active.” Intrigued, searching on the phrase, and discovering a universal shrug in response, I stumbled on this great xkcd.com comic:

Long Light

The mouseover text is, “You can look at practically any part of anything manmade around you and think ‘some engineer was frustrated while designing this.’ It’s a little human connection.” A worthwhile reminder. And sure the driver (as well as the engineer) is frustrated, but note in the comic that frustration isn’t necessarily a driver of innovation. Assault is narrowly avoided (apparently — who knows what happens in the comic’s seventh frame).

Maybe “Consolidate your interest” is akin to “Focus on the road” and “while the lights are active” could be “while the lights are green.” “Focus on the road while the lights are green.” Which leads me to “Make hay while the sun shines” or “Strike while the iron is hot.” Imagine the frustration before those innovations (if you can) but also the innovations made possible once those settled into enduring best practice. We innovate both under pressure and in peace.

But the key’s in the comic: “Go on, show me your proposed timings.” Collaboration and contributions from many. Consolidation of interests while the synapses are firing. Which is always. 

In fact, “Go on, show me your proposed timings” would make a pretty good fortune.