The Dragon Stage

The Dragon Stage” is a valuable lesson that I learnt when I was little from a Chinese cartoon TV show. The story goes like this:

One day a master made a competition to his three students. He gave them a paper and a pencil to draw a dragon in 10 minutes. He also said that he will not receive any of the drawings before the 10 minutes ends. One of the three students finished his drawing in just 5 minutes. His drawing was perfect. (looks similar to the dragon in the right).

But, since the student had extra 5 minutes in his hand, he said I’ll add some more stuff to make the drawing looks even better. He started adding some wings, a mustache and more fire everywhere to make it look cooler. At the end, his drawing looked uglier and he lost the competition. His master told him if had stop drawing after the first 5 minutes, he would won the competition!!

In real life, the Dragon Stage is about saying NO for things you can do. It’s about focus. Steve Jobs do a better job explaining this, watch this video taken in 1997 (warning: quality of the video is horrible):


It’s easy to lose focus while building a product, people around you will give you some awesome ideas to make your product appeal for a larger audience. You need to be careful, you need to be smart, you should say NO more than YES. Remember, you can’t make all type of customers happy from the first time. It’s about focus, it’s about getting things right one at a time.

Leave a comment


  1. Anonymous

     /  August 25, 2012

    This small lesson provides incredible wisdom. I loved that story the first time you told it to me over a year ago. It has even served me well in other aspects of life. I’ll never forget it! Great post!

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