Dev Rangarajan
    The true vision fund

    Notre Dame de Paris took 182 years to complete. The Duomo di Firenze took 142 years. The Milan Cathedral took 577 years. The Cologne Cathedral holds the record at 632 years from start to finish.

    When a building takes us 10 years to build we complain that it’s behind schedule. When Uber tells me 5 minutes and it takes 7, I want my money back. But my overall point here is not about instant gratification, or patience even. The lesson of the cathedrals is one of vision.

    In 142 years you could reasonably have 2-3 people lead the project for most of their lives. Once you start talking about 500 year periods, you’re talking about radical changes to how humans think about life. Most of the 500 year cathedrals have some sort of interruption and then building later recommences. Notre Dame caught fire about a year ago, and even today we decided to build it identical to how it was, and according to the vision of someone long dead.

    So when thinking about vision, you have to ask: is this a cathedral level vision? Is this something that will stand the test of time, and something that could be picked up long after I’m gone? Obviously most things don’t pass that test, and for good reason. But I think that we should remember that this kind of vision is possible, and it’s been done many times by many different humans.

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