[Hidden-tech] 5 entrepreneur lessons from the playground

Rich Roth webmaster at hidden-tech.net
Fri Jul 30 10:17:11 EDT 2010

I just got this from a friend's blog -- thought you all find it food for

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Subject: 	[TNL.net] New Post : 5 entrepreneur lessons from the playground
Date: 	Fri, 30 Jul 2010 13:24:58 +0000

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  5 entrepreneur lessons from the playground

      July 30th, 2010

As Oscar Wilde once said, “youth is wasted on the young”, but why not
learn from younger gen­er­a­tion. Fol­low­ing are XX lessons I’ve
relearned by observ­ing how kids interact.

    Every new per­son you meet is a poten­tial new friend

We all have friends and we tend to con­gre­gate with them but why not
include every per­son you bump into in what you’re doing. On the
play­ground, kids are always happy to add new peo­ple to what­ever game
they’re play­ing. By com­par­i­son, at con­fer­ences, some peo­ple tend
to con­gre­gate only with the peo­ple they know and fail to see that the
new peo­ple can become new sources of inspi­ra­tions, and new friends.

Don’t hes­i­tate to reach out to new peo­ple as you never know what that
new con­tact may bring. In my own expe­ri­ence, every­one I meet always
has some­thing to con­tribute to me and every­one is capa­ble of doing
some­thing great, as long as they fol­low their heart. So I’m always
inter­ested in meet­ing new peo­ple and learn­ing about their
expe­ri­ence because my life gets enriched so much by such interactions.

    Tools don’t have to be used as every­one uses them

Inno­va­tion always comes from peo­ple look­ing at a pre-established
mar­ket or tool and think­ing of how it could be done “bet­ter”. Kids do
not look at things are being bet­ter or worse. They look at them as
tools that can be used in dif­fer­ent ways.

The car­ton box is the best exam­ple of this, a real­ity that what
even­tu­ally real­ized by adults, who inducted it in the toy hall of
(and even­tu­ally wrote a great book, “Not a Box
<http://www.amazon.com/dp/0061123226/?tag=tnlnetinassociwi>”, about its

In the same way, the inter­net was ini­tially designed as a tool for
mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ca­tion and it was because some peo­ple decided to
look at it dif­fer­ently that it became what we know of it today.

Think about a dif­fer­ent use what some­thing around you today and you
may find the root of the next great innovation.

    There are no bound­aries, only obstacles

Too many adults get par­a­lyzed by fear. In talk­ing to peo­ple who are
sit­ting com­fort­ably in jobs they don’t like and not look­ing to make
a change, I’ve dis­cov­ered an under­ly­ing amount of fear that leaves
those peo­ple unable to even plan for a way out of their quandary.

Kids don’t fully appre­ci­ate the dan­ger in some of their action and,
as a result, act more fear­lessly than adults would. Cau­tion goes out
the win­dow and some­times they end up get­ting hurt in the process.
But, in a lot of those cases, after a quick cry to deal with the pain of
falling, they pull them­selves back up and throw them­selves back into
the task.

The secret here is that they don’t look at the world as one with
bound­aries. Instead they look at the world as one with pos­si­ble
obsta­cles that need to be surmounted.

John Gilmore once said <http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Gilmore> “The
Net inter­prets cen­sor­ship as dam­age and routes around it.” One could
argue that such a state­ment was naïve but we’ve learned that rout­ing
around dam­age or obsta­cles is a good way to make progress. As
a result, adults should learn from kids and redis­cover that obsta­cles
are mostly in our minds.

As A., who works for a top Wall Street firm, told me recently, “I’d love
to do a startup but I can’t afford the risk: I’d have to cut back on
vaca­tions and get rid of our sports club mem­ber­ship to reduce my
spend­ing and my wife and chil­dren would kill me for it.” The same
per­son revealed to me at another point in that con­ver­sa­tion that he
didn’t really enjoy what he was doing and longed to get the excite­ment
one would get work­ing for a startup.

The truth is that such a per­son would be a great addi­tion to a startup
IF he man­aged to get rid of his fears, which work as his own obsta­cle
to ful­fill­ing his desire for a bet­ter type of life.

Most bound­aries are of our mak­ing: destroy them and your uni­verse
will expand exponentially.

    Life is simple

For kids, life is very sim­ple: there are things you like and things you
don’t. They are clear about their intents and inter­ests and they have
no prob­lems voic­ing their likes and dislikes.

Adults some­times think too much about ulte­rior motives. There’s always
a focus on fig­ur­ing out the story behind the story. What if there
weren’t one? What if you were to focus on being hon­est in all your
inter­ac­tions? Wouldn’t it make busi­ness more effi­cients and any
inter­ac­tions more enjoyable?

    Fail­ing is not failure

One of the great things about play­grounds is that one gets to see many
kids deal with sim­i­lar issues in dif­fer­ent ways.

On a recent trip to the play­ground with my sound, I observed a much
younger child, prob­a­bly two or three year old, who was try­ing to
climb a tricky park of a jun­gle gym. And the jun­gle gym would foil
most of his attempts, with the net result being that the kid would end
up, in a lot of cases face-first, on the ground. And yet, he seemed to
be hav­ing the time of his life, look­ing at each fall as just another
step towards fig­ur­ing out how to pass that obstacle.

I have to say that this is a trait where my adopted coun­try, the USA,
is far ahead of the rest of the world. In this coun­try, entre­pre­neurs
are not penal­ized for fail­ing and can try again if they’ve failed in
the past. Unfor­tu­nately, that’s not always the case, as Robert Scoble
shows in this inter­view with a Dutch entre­pre­neur

In a way, this ties with the pre­vi­ous point as the fear of fail­ing is
what keeps a lot of peo­ple from mak­ing changes. But what would you do
if you gave your­self per­mis­sion to fail? What if you thought of not
try­ing as a type of fail­ure in itself?

Related Posts with Thumbnails <http://www.linkwithin.com/>

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