On a trip to Japan, Momofuku founder David Chang stumbled upon an insight. He writes in Eat a Peach, “I could eat extraordinarily well in places that weren’t punishingly expensive.” Later on, he adds, “The way people ate in train stations, shopping malls, back alleys, and strip malls in Asia was superior to the way we ate in upscale New York restaurants.” This insight would be the through-line for Momofuku: “That was the big idea: leave everyone walking out the door of Momofuku happy and surprised and glad to have spent their money.” The rest of the themes we identify with Momofuku—innovative food, the decor, the service, and everything else—were driven by this simple through-line, the heartbeat of Momofuku’s restaurants.
If you’re struggling through this, don’t just write one mission (or through-line) down. Write everything down that comes to mind, without thinking too much about it. At this stage, it should really just be a single sentence. Write down 100 sentences, 100 missions. If it takes more than a couple of hours, you’re thinking too much. Allow the mission to emerge from the quantity—let yourself be drawn.After writing 100 missions, if you still don’t have anything, re-read them, and pick the ten that resonate most with you. Make the case for each of them, by answering some of these questions: