A few months back, Jerry Baldwin, our CEO, gave me a strange assignment. “We need something different, something fun,” he said. “Go write an ebook.”

I must have looked puzzled because he went on, “Write what you want, be creative. If I like it, we’ll figure out what to do with it. If I don’t, it was a nice try.”

I think he was serious at the time, but he probably figured I wouldn’t get around to it or other projects would take priority. But as far as I was concerned, it was a challenge. And I aimed to come back with something different, and compelling, and relevant, and cool.

This turned out to be an awesome project, not only because I could run wild, but because I had permission to fail, which made all the difference. So in an unselfconscious manner I started typing—thinking about how drastically our lives have changed because of the Internet—the most significant invention of our lifetime.

I’m proud to share the result of this unusual assignment. I hope you get a chance to rise to a similar challenge one of these days: go do something different, you have permission to fail.

Smile, share, and enjoy The Everything Age (A Pop Culture eBook for Geeks).