One of my relatives was at a family reunion and he proudly stated firmly and unequivocally that all of his success was due to his hard work. There was chorus of disapproval and anger. The family had sacrificed for him to stay in school and then to go to college. There were times when he struggled in his career and again his family provided support. It caused a breach in the family that never quite healed.
I know where he got this idea. Popular culture. The idea of the lone wolf struggling against all odds, the lone man facing fate along, and all that other crap. It’s very romantic, Ayn Randian stuff. Of course, we are, in a sense, alone but really we are creatures of our culture and our time. We stand on the shoulders of giants ever dependent on the philosophies and ideas generated by our ancestors and our endeavors are smoothed by the cooperation of our fellow citizens.
I suppose I should be beguiled by the idea of myself as a lone hero, a Western style avenger fighting for right. But the fact is, there is a certain pleasure in coming from Locust Grove, Oklahoma, and by some measurement having made good. I remember where I came from and the many kindnesses extended to me and the occasional cruelties as well.
I don’t understand the “I did it all” mentality. When I drive to work, I realize that I didn’t pay for the road save in some small share. My car is constructed in accordance with federal regulations which means unlike vehicles in the 1950’s and before, my little vehicle will enable me to survive most crashes. I work in a state institution, a cooperative endeavor financed over time by millions of citizens. Etc.
I don’t like the “I did it all” mentality. It seems to me that it inevitably leads to evading responsibility to help others and to be part of the community – the state and the nation will take a back seat to self interest. Self interest has its place but it’s not the only thing to take into consideration. I am a patriot and I believe in my fellow Americans. We like to think we all are but the fact is the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship to evade taxes is growing every year. They are traitors to their country.
Please read the article below, the author eloquently explains that lone wolf scientist is really a figment of the fiction writer’s agile mind rather than a real character.
A popular misconception we’re often confronted with is the idea that successful business people somehow made it through their own hard work, graft and smarts. While it can take immense perseverance, skill and acumen to build business empires, it is a fallacy to believe that ultimate success is down to the individual entrepreneur. Yes they may be the important component, but a lone effort it certainly is not. Maybe one can better think of them as the star strikers in football – great show and talent but completely useless without the backup of mid-fielders, defenders, trainers, coaches, managers, family, promoters, ad-men, agents, supporters and so on.
Popular films like the Iron Man series portray a fantasy world where a supremely gifted and arrogant engineer single-handedly builds a complete semi-autonomous robot exoskeleton with over-unity power source. Anyone with an actual real-world technical background (or half a brain) would tell you that in reality he’d have needed a team of ten to write and test the code for the control mechanism of the little finger on the left-hand glove.
So the team of scientists, engineers and project managers would need to be absolutely massive. And who would have trained them? Did Robert Downey Jr. recruit a bunch of uneducated kids and teach them maths, physics, computing, etc, from scratch? Not likely especially given the amount of time he spends partying and getting pissed. No he did it on the back of the education system of multiple countries (engineers move around). Who pays for that education? The public does, either through taxes or fees, both of which require people to earn something in order to pay. And then Tony Stark made his fortune selling weapons to Uncle Sam and other military forces, all of whom are for a large part funded by tax payers money. …
From Around the Web.
From the web site, Philip Valdes.
Why do so many startups fail? The business myth says: A lone entrepreneur – beavering away in a lab or a garage somewhere – through hard work, grit and sheer perseverance develops a great product which then becomes a blockbuster hit. That sounds appealing but the reality is most startups tend to burn through their resources and then disappear because they never get around to seeing what their potential customers think of what they’re developing. They worry about the product first and assume customer demand will be there automatically.To succeed with a startup, you’ve got to manage it differently. Instead of developing a business plan, find ways to accelerate your learning and validate customers demand.
The best way to do this is to build a prototype (with minimal features) and sell it to some early adopters. Then change the product repeatedly – daily if necessary – and keep supplying your customers with the new and improved versions. Listen to their feedback and use those ideas to make a better version and then get more feedback on that. Keep iterating until you get a fully featured product which your customers love. Click here to find out who is Phillip Valdes.
In other words, go through the Build-Measure-Learn loop as often as you can. If you make validated learning the real aim of your startup, you stand a better chance of success. Focus on what customers want, utilize an extremely fast cycle time and take a scientific approach to making decisions. That’s the essence of the Lean Startup approach.