Entrepreneur YOU!

Pioneer Entrepreneurs. You probably won’t get rich but you might change the world.

Posted in Personal Journey by Robert Lindsay Thompson on February 7, 2011

Long before the Wright Brothers Idea "took off", Brother Leo envisioned it and "pioneered" the concept

There are many kinds of Entrepreneurs. There are the “show me the money” kind of mercenary ones. The “don’t bother me, I’m thinking” brand of tinkering inventors. Visionaries who desire to create a reality from their own dreams, make the unreal real. Zealots with their singular purpose bent on impacting the world. Craftsman, who’s skill and artistry propel them into commercial demand. Forest Gump types, who through a whimsical fate, just seem to fall into success.

I think you should know what type of entrepreneur you are or aspire to be. For many reasons. One is that you’re more likely to get what you want, if you know what it is you really want. You’re more apt to arrive successfully at your destination, if you are aware of where it is that you’re trying to go. It is important to chose the yardstick by which you will ultimately measure your own success or failure. You may impact the world but end up homeless. Would you be a success or a failure? To whom and why?

Otto Lilienthal is an unsung hero and pioneer in aeronautical engineering

You’ve heard of the Wright Brothers, right? Of course. Have you heard of Otto Lilienthal? Probably not. He was an aeronautical pioneer. He paved the way for Orville and Wilbur. They credit him as their major inspiration in pursuing manned flight period. How did things go for old Otto? “On 9 August, 1896, Lilienthal’s glider lost its lift and he fell from a height of 17 m (56 ft). He died of a broken spine the following day in Berlin, saying, “Kleine Opfer müssen gebracht werden!” (“Small sacrifices must be made!”).

My entrepreneurial journey has spanned over three decades. I’ve launched two major, ten year ventures along with two handfuls of minor ones. I’ve been a millionaire twice. Also bankrupt twice. I’ve distributed over a million dollars to various charitable causes. Generated revenues of tens of millions. Created jobs for dozens upon dozens of individuals. Now, I’m in my late 50’s. I don’t have many zeros attached to the deposits sitting in my bank accounts. I’ve joked to my oldest (business minded) daughter. “I can teach you how to create a business and make money… but you’ll have to go to someone else to learn how to manage and keep it.”

Futuristic Airplane

I’ve been a pioneer, a visionary, a zealot. I’ve spent a career crafting reality from raw imagination. My purpose has been to impact the world, to make a difference. To that end, I have been very, very successful. Notwithstanding, most of the time I have felt like Sisyphus, “compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down…” I’ve endlessly been trying to get people to “see” what I see and buy something that has never existed before… always understaffed and under capitalized… Forced to “sell” when I’d rather invent and attend to nagging details when i prefer the “big picture”. Such is life for many entrepreneurs.

In the end, have I been “successful”? I’m occasionally dubious when I review my bank statements. I can state with assurance that my inward drive has propelled me to the destination that I’ve considered most important.

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