Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
— Apple “Here’s to the Crazy One’s Ad” 1997

Rebels Zenrupt

Rebels make the world move. Every advancement ever came from someone willing to challenge the status quo. Think about that. If no one challenged the status quo, we would still have the status quo. The United States would still be a colony, women wouldn’t have the vote and the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s might not have happened.

Sure rebels have screwed up every now and then, but mistakes breed progress and learning. The person that screws up while pushing forward can be a million times more valuable than the stagnant individual. The goal of a disruptor is to upset the general order of things and innovate. To that end your tax guy can be static, but you can’t and neither should the key people in your organization.


You still need conformists and probably far more of them than rebels. Conformists are important in maintaining consistency with your customers and in production. They are the cogs in the machine. Still, make sure your conformists are at least a little bit saucy at times as it makes things more interesting.

Your conformists will see things as they are and tow the party line to protect their jobs and probably because they don’t know any better. The conformists will look at things as they have been and how they are now and will maintain consistency. Give them a rule book and they will follow it.

You rebels are special. They look at the future and compare it to now. Their vision is in what is possible and yet to come. A company dedicated to moving forward needs that vision more than anything.

Rebels will be the ones that probe and learn and push limits in creating new market channels and ways to reach your customers. The only guidance they need is a cause. Create the cause and rallying point. Use a damn pirate flag if you have to.

Remember these are the people that do something different now and ask forgiveness later. They challenge their supervisor, modify processes and reimagine what you might think is mundane into a place of dynamic change and substantial contribution.

Rebels are not experts. Experts are those that use all of the lessons of the past to interpret the now. Rebels don’t care about the past because there is a new world of change to explore. They defy boundaries, question authority and force positive change if you let them.

Tell your HR to mix in the rebels with the experts. If they can't figure out how to do that, go find them yourself.

Find them. Encourage them. Give them a cause. Realize you now have the most valuable part of your organization. Be prepared to disrupt the general order and create business opportunities you never imagined.



Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption and has his MBA from Boise State University. His inner rebel is always waiting to pounce and he is proud of it. We know Brian becomes sad when he sees companies that have lost their rebel ways and become myopic.




Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license