Making really good stuff is not enough. We’ve got to be good as well. Good people. We’ve got to have a DNA encoded into our business which shows we stand for something that is wider than what we sell. I’m not talking about any of that Corporate Social Responsibility crap, or even triple bottom line reporting. I’m talking about caring enough to leave good things behind us in our trail. For the things we touch to be the same or better after we’ve been there. And most of all, we need to make sure our trail is going to be good, before we carve the path that takes us forward.
The rock band U2 stood out in the 1980’s for many reasons. One of them was the willingness to shun to excess of the 80’s. Things like Stadium rock, over produced music, expensive film clips and overdressing. U2 had something to say, rather than something to see.
It all changed at the birth of Zoo TV with the Achtung Baby album which was a brilliant parody of the impact television had had on music politics and consumerism…. Sadly U2 have become the parody they first exposed.
Here’s some quote from Bono himself:
‘Sometime the best way to expose the lies is to live them yourself’
‘All I’ve got is a red guitar, 2 chords and the truth’
It seems his memory has failed him as their latest 360 tour includes 390 tonnes of stage production equipment, 200 tonnes of amplifiers, 248 shipping containers filled with the staging systems and requires 6 Boeing 747 freighters to transport it. They claim the band is buying carbon offsets, but the real kicker is that Bono then has the audacity to ask people to car pool to “cut down on carbon emissions”.
The whole thing just feels very wrong. It’s not the U2 I knew and loved. In many ways the stage is making up for the lack of good songs (They haven’t had a top 10 in America since 2004). Certainly, they’re DNA has changed and its reflected in their record sales which have been reduced. I preferred it when they’re stage shows were simpler, and their music better.
The lesson for startups is this:
The things that made us successful, are probably the same things that will keep us there.
We are all born entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is inextricably linked to human behaviour. To explore, to understand, to invent and to embrace take risk. Risk which results in a better situation for us and our stakeholders. Knowing that we will fail, and even learning to endure, no less enjoy that as part of it. Civilisation and evolution of humans is due to our entrepreneurial nature. It’s why we live in houses, drive cars, have climate control and everything we enjoy today. It’s part of our genetic code. It’s what differentiates us from all other creatures.
The word Entrepreneur
Noun: A person who organises and manages any enterprises, esp a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
The word origin is from 1875-80 coming from the French word ‘Entrepren’ – meaning to undertake. To do something. Also the word Enterprise. Is about entering and taking. Enter / prendere.
To be entrepreneurs is it about doing. Not over replanning or talking. It’s about action. Learning on the job. The most insightful ideas and poignant moments I have had in my life haven’t been while writing or typing, but when I’ve been acting.
Our code must be acted upon. Go act out your code.