Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Backwards

Let’s think backwards for a while.

Start with this brilliant reverse-reverse performance video. (Make sure to watch the whole thing.)

Only after you’ve seen that can you appreciate how much work Jeroen Offerman put into Stairway at St. Paul’s.

I love that Fela Kuti never performed songs after he had recorded them. (Backwards record-release?)

Has anyone heard a truly backwards song structure? (Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse?)

Not backwards, but I always admired that Dancing Queen starts with the pre-chorus (“You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life...”).

The backwards romantic relationship is used sometimes in movies: start fighting immediately (hate eachother at first), then merely annoyed, then in love, then passionately physical, then notice things they like about eachother, then co-exist. Another variation is Benjamin Button, of course.

See the brilliant Memento, where the story is told backwards, showing the ending first and the beginning last. (If you’ve seen it once, see it again. It’s even better the 2nd time.)

The dot-com era had plenty of backwards businesses: start by making a ton of money (IPO), (now have 500 employees), then build solid business infrastructure, then spend a lot of money marketing, then figure out what you really have to offer, (now only 100 employees), then try to make a profit, then brainstorm really good ideas, (now only 10 employees), then close the business, and the founders go work for someone else.

(Also there are reversible business models, but that’s mirror-image, not backwards.)

What else can go backwards?

Thanks to Joano Lippi for the Stairway link.