|It wasn't a big winter in New England for Snowy Owls, but a few graced our presence. Snowy Owls are the Beyoncé of the local birding kingdom; when one is spotted, an adoring crowd quickly assembles.|
Sunday, July 5, 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020
|(Source: Public domain from defenseimagery.mil)|
She fought for years to have her idea accepted by law enforcement and the courts, to have sexual assault treated as a crime and not, as author Pagan Kennedy writes, a feminine delusion.
Goddard was sometimes encouraged, sometimes funded, but often ignored and belittled. She herself was raped by someone pretending to be a supporter.
She died an exhausted, penniless alcoholic. Her heartbreaking story is told beautifully by Kennedy in the New York Times Sunday Review. But Goddard’s idea would, as Steve Jobs encouraged, go on to dent the universe.
I invite you to read Kennedy’s compelling article. I hope that, one day, it becomes a book. It will make you angry and frustrated and maybe want to cry.
Based on my own reading of innovation, I have a short postscript to add. But first, the basics:
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Featured in chapter 3 of Innovation on Tap, James Forten (1766-1842) lived a rags-to-riches story so impressive that he became among the wealthiest businessmen in Philadelphia, and a powerful voice for African-American reform.
Forten’s future was cast the moment he accompanied his father to work at the sail-making business of Robert Bridges, a white Quaker. By age ten, Forten had acquired the basic skills of his lifelong trade while learning to read at a nearby Quaker school.
Anxious to support the Revolution, Forten enlisted as a powder boy on the 450-ton American Royal Louis. During Forten’s maiden voyage, the Royal Louis captured four British vessels. His second cruise was met by the British warship Amphion, however, and in October 1782, Forten found himself a prisoner aboard the Jersey in Manhattan’s East River. He barely survived his seven long months of captivity.
In 1785, Robert Bridges welcomed Forten back to his sail loft, and within a year named the toughened, ambitious young man his foreman. In time, Forten learned how to outfit and repair sails for every kind of vessel that appeared in the port of Philadelphia. In return, Forten provided his older friend and boss with leadership and the wisdom of someone whose own life had once depended upon quality sails.
When Bridges retired in 1798, he lent Forten the money to purchase his sail-making business, ensuring he maintained the firm's customers. Bridges was clearly Forten’s benefactor, but support from the greater Quaker community in Philadelphia helped to level the playing field and made it possible for the talented Forten to excel.
Friday, May 29, 2020
So it is with the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are a seasoned entrepreneur, perhaps one who is mentoring students in an incubator or influential in your local ecosystem, here are two simple ideas to make things a little bit better.Model Perseverance
The defining quality of a successful entrepreneur is supposed to be grit. Perseverance. Tenacity. Determination. Resolve. The ability to struggle through obstacles and weather hard times.
Nobody wants to be locked down. Nobody wants to wear masks or miss summer at the beach. Everyone wants to eat at a restaurant and get their hair cut. But mercy, people: we live in a nation that stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the viscous soup of a swimming pool, spreading SARS to our closest friends.
We live in a nation where half of us are about to fail the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. And the price of failure is suffering and death.
If you are an entrepreneur who built your business on perseverance, it’s time now to model that trait--alongside kindness and civility. What’s good for entrepreneurial success turns out to be good for life success as well.
Being optimistic is not about putting on a happy face.
It's about acknowledging that the crisis is real, that people are hurting, that solutions are elusive—but that we have been in this situation before and we have overcome. Every single time. We just tend to forget our own history.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
|"Innovation on Tap" was awarded the 2020|
Silver Medal in the "Entrepreneurship and Small Business"
category by Axiom Business Books
Also available, free of charge, is a special set of notes prepared for entrepreneurs, business class instructors, and book groups that explore the leadership and innovation issues presented in the book. See Special Notes for Entrepreneurs here.
The video below is a 30-second summary put together by Booksplainers.