In the mid 1800’s Jay Gould’s powers of concentration were amazing by any standard from any time period. Early in his career, during a meeting with subordinates who exasperated him by bickering about whether a particular move might be too audacious, he insisted that they should keep their eye on the ball.
“We must look at accomplishing big things in big ways. The procedure, gentlemen! The procedure! We need not hesitate about dimensions.”
Jay Gould, From The Dark Genius of Wall Street
Andrew Carnegie, envisioned producing huge quantities of high quality steel at a cost low enough to cause a steel revolution. Thus, Carnegie had to concentrate on establishing the procedures necessary to accomplish that objective. He had to not only design, build and run his own steel mills, Carnegie had to run his own iron ore mines, run the railroads that delivered ore to his steel mills, and even buy and run the coal mines that supplied coal to his steel plants. That was the only way Carnegie could bring down costs low enough to accomplish his vision. Carnegie had to concentrate on the conditions and procedures necessary to hit his target.
Henry Ford dreamed of making the automobile affordable to the masses. To accomplish that, Ford had to work backwards until all the procedures necessary to hit his target were established. Not only did Ford conceive and implement the mass-production assembly line, Ford had to go all the way down the supply line to the point where he established rubber plantations in Brazil in order to provide the rubber for his tires as cheaply as possible.
Rockefeller, in order to get costs down low enough to enable industry to switch from using coal to oil, he had to create and integrate the entire oil industry. To accomplish that, Rockefeller even purchased the company that manufactured the railroad cars that transported his oil to markets in order to bring the costs down.
Whether it is steel, automobiles, oil or search engines, the common denominator is the massive amount of concentration on the procedures!