The entrepreneur and process methods -- two ways of dealing with the problems created by a business segregated into extreme phenotypes
How can I change the world? I ask myself this question every day. It's the standard against which I measure myself, and seek to calibrate success. I admire those who've achieved this, and reserved my greatest admiration for those who try. And I know I'm not alone. Recently, however, I've started to wonder whether by glamorizing the Next Big Thing, I -- we -- have undervalued the importance and the impact of the day-to-day. Have we glorified the virtue of unrestrained ambition while minimizing the worth of structured effort?
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Let's begin with a story I first heard from the late Dr. Judah Folkman, a surgeon and pioneering medical researcher at Harvard. Folkman explained his mission by telling the tale of a man, our protagonist, who was walking by a river when he heard someone call out for assistance mid-stream; immediately, a passer-by jumped into the water to rescue the drowning person. A few minutes later, another drowning person called out, and again, a passer-by jumped into and rescued him; it happened a third time as well. At this point, our protagonist, who had been carefully observing the successive rescue missions, started to walk purposefully upstream. "Where are you going," one of the rescuers cried, dripping wet. "Aren't you going to help save these struggling swimmers?" To which our protagonist replied, "I am: I intend to find out who's throwing them in."