Monday, September 29, 2008

The Space Between

Can anyone fully comprehend the concept of entrepreneurship without understanding the theories of Joseph Schumpeter?

The once personally bankrupt Austrian Minister of Finance who later escaped the Nazis to teach at Harvard in the 1930's and 40's argued that innovation and technological change of any nation comes from wild spirits, or as he phrased it "Unternehmergeist", German for entrepreneur-spirit. Despite contrary opinions from the intellectual elite, Joe believed these renegades are the ones who make things work in any economy, unleashing what Schumpeter described as "creative destruction". You can think of "creative destruction" as the way in which old methods of doing things ( 8-tracks and cassettes) are destroyed and replaced by new ways (compact discs) and destroyed and replaced again (MP3, iTunes).

Here is what Schumpeter determined as far back as 1942 when "Creative Destruction" was first published:

"So is the history of the productive apparatus of the iron and steel industry from the charcoal furnace to our own type of furnace, or the history of the apparatus of power production from the overshot water wheel to the modern power plant, or the history of transportation from the mailcoach to the airplane. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in."

Schumpeter's theories can be applied to every business model; from corner ice cream stands to multi-nationals perched on top of Fortune 500 lists. The actual words that catapult these creative, yet destructive visions of grandeur are sparked by billions of synaptic connections, firing inside a human brain; and a single heart that yearns for something more. Somewhere in a six to nine inch space between a persons ears, entrepreneurial worlds are first imagined, and then spoken into existence by men and women who refuse to accept status quo; with the courage to do what's not expected; unwilling to settle for what everyone else thinks is okay. Consequently, they are accustomed to being laughed at, ridiculed and scorned by others who can't see what they can. But these rebels with a business cause know what they know, even if it isn't always clearly grasped by those around them.

They are the kind of people who will "get" what is shared in this video.

True entrepreneurs have active imaginations, triggered initially by noticing something ordinary, asking why it works that way, then figuring out how to blow it up so they can do it or build it better (in a way that customers will be delighted to pay money for that product or service).

Just for kicks and giggles, why not look around this week at the ordinary things you do or buy. Take a second and a third, closer look. Study the underlying pattern.

Then, start asking the most dangerous question of all.

Why do they do it that way?

Who knows? You might begin to experience a sudden urge to wreak havoc and create wealth simultaneously, overcome with a spirit of "Unternehmergeist".

And make the world a better place.

"The space between, the tears we cry, is the laughter keeps us coming back for more"

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