It’s great to get people in that sweet spot when they have learned enough to be effectual, but they still have something to prove. I consider myself in that sweet spot — I have never been more hungry to succeed, I don’t know exactly what I am doing but I am systematically figuring it out, and the fact that I have a couple young kids at home makes me both more tenacious and more careful than I was fifteen years ago.
On the other hand, I am less willing than I once was to take long odds and go without a salary to turn the world upside down. That’s a privilege that I enjoyed fifteen years ago but didn’t recognize as an endemic, life-stage advantage. That’s the trick, I think — to recognize the advantages of your phase of life, and play to your strength.
This is the time for President Obama to take a page from his campaign playbook. Why stop at tapping the grass roots to debate the stimulus? He should seek to fund innovation at the grass-roots level. Obama is familiar with using YouTube and social networks — products of start-ups and tools of the people. His administration should make it a point not only to avoid propping up failing, overleveraged institutions but to finance new businesses, back promising ventures, welcome the best foreign minds and nurture native talent. By providing incentives to American ingenuity, we can innovate our way out of this recession.
The top third of class is hired by managers from the middle third of the class at companies started by the bottom third of the class.
People’s reputations are made in the bad times more than the good times.
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