Part I: FOMO – Fear of missing out
May 10, 2018, 2 min read
You probably know the acronym FOMO – the fear of missing out – and you probably know it in combination with the addiction to social media. You pick up your smartphone and head to the social media to please your FOMO.
It has become a word you can use for anything. Basically slang, such as "my dog has a serious fomo everytime I leave the home". And I actually have a feeling that quite a few company leaders suffer severely from FOMO.
They are afraid that they are missing out on the next big thing.
– What about blockchain?
– Let's build something with AI.
– We need an app.
They are so afraid of missing out, that they come up with solutions leveraging new technologies, that they forget to focus on the problems they are solving. In fact they are most likely creating more problems than they are solving.
It is very rare to find a great solution that started with the solution. It most often start with the problem. A solid understanding of the problem.
But wait a minute. Before we jump further into that, let's take a look at FOMO and where it origins. Because it's actually not just an acronym created by some hotshot agency working with social media and disruptive buzzwords. It's not.
FOMO was coined back in 2004 by Patrick McGinnis; a venture capitalist and private equity investor.
McGinnis used FOMO to describe people that are so afraid of missing an opportunity, that they execute on too many initiatives. Their fear of missing out takes control, and in a business context that can yield inconsistent management and confused stakeholders, employees and customers.
While FOMO can be dangerous it also has an opposing force; the FOBO – the fear of a better option. Whereas FOMO makes you too active, FOBO makes you postpone and delay. If you are always on the search for a better option, you will struggle to commit to strategies and direction.
These two concepts need to be managed at leadership level. Their forces can be strong, and you always want to strive for a balance between them. If not, you might end up with FODA – the fear of doing anything. And that's not something you want to be diagnosed with.
In this part of the book we look into how these forces can leave anyone paralyzed, but also how you can secure the optimal balance between them. The balance between attaining knowledge and acting on that knowledge, is what also brings you closer to the right solution.
Because in order to create the right solution, you must know the right problem.