Entrepreneurial insight from Albert Einstein

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So, is there anything in common between one of the world’s greatest scientists and the world’s greatest business entrepreneurs? It would seem so! A bit of exploration into the minds of these creative people reveals a similar spark of genius at the core of their success. Courage, dedication, and teamwork have all been integral aspects in the development of Einstein’s ideas. A closer look reveals that these elements are crucial to many business entrepreneurs as well.

Creative Courage

Taking risks is crucial to any creative endeavor. You can’t innovate without questioning the current paradigm, and that means you may face a lot of resistance from others in your field. The realm of science is historically contentious, and they don’t refer to the business world as “cut-throat” for nothing! Recall the time Galileo suggested that the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth? He had the courage to present his theory though he knew it would cause an uproar. He ended up being accused of heresy and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his days. Galileo wasn’t the only scientist to face opposition to his theories. Einstein wasn’t arrested for trying to present his ideas, but he certainly had to fight for the respect of his colleagues and for the support of his research. Scientists had been wavering for years over whether or not light was a particle or a wave. It took years for them to accept it was a particle, and more years for them to accept that it was a wave. Einstein came along and postulated that light was composed of particles AND waves and sparked a new quest for knowledge among his peers. He always questioned everything and the same is true for any creative entrepreneur. Our world is in constant need of innovation. Just doing it “the same old way” isn’t going to cut it for the innovative entrepreneur. The world needs business developers that are not afraid to question the way things are done, business leaders who are willing to take risks in creating new products and production processes, and people who aren’t afraid to question the way big business works. Entrepreneurs must have the vision to see not only where the current market is headed, but also the courage to take alternate paths that are outside the established flow.

Tenacity and Dedication

If there is one thing that Einstein never did it was give up. He didn’t speak his first words until he was four years old, and he did not do well in the school system as a child.  It wasn’t immediately obvious to anyone that young Einstein was actually a genius; he wasn’t encouraged or coddled into becoming a physicist. He had to believe in himself and have faith in his own ideas. Even after being told by his teachers that he would never amount to anything, young Albert proceeded to become of the world’s greatest thinkers. Einstein faced challenges even after becoming an established physicist. How many stumbling blocks were set in his path? How many times did he need to stop and rework a page full of equations? Perhaps he made a mistake and had to calculate everything again. Perhaps he didn’t realize how two aspects of the equation were connected or he didn’t consider every possible solution. How many times did Einstein come near to scrapping his theories because things weren’t coming together? Who knows. What we do know is that he never actually gave up. He always faced problems as creative challenges and not halts of progress. If it isn’t working one way, there are probably several alternative routes yet to be discovered. Entrepreneurs need to share the same mindset. If you deeply believe in the value of your project, there can be nothing that stops you. There are many ways to accomplish a goal, and a large goal is sure to require a lot of developing, and redeveloping! False starts aren’t always setbacks; they can be the bearers of new theories and ideas. The company Traf-O-Data is a wonderful example. This failed business venture was attempted by none another than Bill Gates and his partner Paul Allen, two of the most famous and revolutionary entrepreneurs in history. “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later,” says Allen.

Brainstorming and Teamwork

Einstein was one man with one great mind, but he didn’t work in a vacuum. The entire world was an inspiration to him including his colleagues and friends. Great ideas take shape as they bounce off of one another; concepts are exchanged like electrons from one nucleus to another. Einstein collaborated many times with other scientists included Marcel Grossman. The two of them worked together on concepts involving warped and curved space and their conversations helped catapult Einstein’s theories to a new level. Einstein also worked very closely with Kurt Friedrich Gödel in the 1930’s and the two friends brainstormed quite frequently about the possibilities of Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Gödel made several contributions to the theory of relativity before the end of their collaboration. The same is true for many great business entrepreneurs. No business can be started without at least one other person: the customer! The customer is always going to be providing new ideas and useful feedback. Add a few more great minds and things are bound to take off in even more creative directions. There are plenty of examples of successful entrepreneurial partnerships and teams. The Walt Disney team is a perfect example. It would have been impossible to get an animation studio off the ground without a group of individuals working together. The vision of Walt Disney, the creative ideas of Ub Iwerks, the financial backing of Roy Disney, and not to mention the team of animators who worked tirelessly to create the actual films that millions of people have been enjoying for years. The company started with a core creative team, and it has gone in hundreds of unimaginable directions since the beginning, all thanks to roaring brainstorms and creative collaboration between people.

There is no mysticism or magic behind the success of Einstein or any other entrepreneur. It takes courage, dedication, and teamwork to get any great idea off the ground.

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