Before I start, let me ask you a question. Markus “Notch” Persson, George Lucas, and the Wright brothers. What do these people all have in common? “Three Dreams That Revolutionised Their Respective Industries”.
The first dream is the oldest of the three: The Wright Flyer. In 1903, two brothers started working on what seemed like a long shot at the time: Sustained flight with a pilot aboard.
Thus, the Flyer 1 was born. Those 2 brothers were Orville and Wilbur Wright. On December 17 1903, they went to Kitty Hawk in North Carolina to test their creation. Orville tried it first and stayed airborne for 12 seconds, travelling 36 metres. Wilbur tried afterwards and flew for nearly 5 times longer than his brother, staying airborne for a whopping (at the time) 59 seconds travelling 225.6 metres. “What industry did it revolutionise and how did it revolutionise it?” you may be asking. It changed the transportation industry tremendously by creating an airborne form of transportation, once thought to be only possible in fiction. Need I say any more?
What do you get when you combine a young Californian child’s aspiration for making action movies with his action figures and being the son of a successful entrepreneur? A Mr. George Walton Lucas Jr., creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, that’s who!
In the 1950s George and his friend filmed a stop-motion film with his Civil War soldier toys. In 1968, Lucas won a scholarship to watch the making of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow”. There, he met Francis Ford Coppola. They became friends so close that Coppola decided to make Lucas an executive producer on “The Godfather”. It gave Lucas the experience and confidence to make a film of his own. By 1976, production started on his directorial debut. After shooting wrapped, Lucas decided that he wasn’t happy with it and reshot everything that summer. On May 25 1977, Star Wars released in a select few cinemas. Fox had so little faith in it that they released another film that summer called “The Other Side of Midnight”. Ever heard of it? No, neither had I. “What industry did it revolutionise and how did it revolutionise it?” you may be asking once again. Star Wars fundamentally changed the aesthetics and narratives of Hollywood films, switching the focus of Hollywood films from deep, meaningful stories based on dramatic conflict, themes and irony to sprawling special-effects-laden blockbusters, as well as changing the Hollywood film industry in fundamental ways.
Picture the scene: Stockholm in 2009; a 30 year-old down-on-his-luck video game enthusiast; one small idea, a sandbox survival game where you build to your heart’s content. Less than 48 hours later, Markus “Notch” Persson released the first alpha version of Minecraft (now known as Minecraft old_alpha rd-132211) on May 17 2009 at 20:11 UTC. He also founded the video game development company Mojang AB to develop Minecraft further.
11 years later Minecraft has been fully released and been updated to version 1.15.2 with countless others in between. On November 15 2014, Microsoft acquired Mojang AB for US$2.5 BILLION.“What industry did it revolutionise and how did it revolutionise it?” you may be asking for the third and final time. The building-and-exploring game, originally developed by one coder, Markus Persson, in his spare time, has now sold over 200 million copies across over 20 platforms. A free-to-play version launched in China via a partnership with NetEase has been downloaded 200m times alone. Every month, 90 million people around the world play Minecraft. There are Minecraft clothes, Lego sets and spin-off games. Soon there will be a live-action Minecraft movie. Need I say any more?
In conclusion, small dreams can lead to fame and fortune either by: going through trial and error, like the Wright Brothers; years of experience before trying to achieve it, like George Lucas; or even spending 48 grinding and making a first version, like “Notch”. The Wright Brothers wanted to fly and they did. George Lucas wanted to make a war space-opera and he did. “Notch” wanted to make a 3D sandbox survival game and he did, in less than 2 days. As Colin R. Davis once said: “The road to success and failure are exactly the same”; and to finish this off in the immortal words of the great Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try”.