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Why do entrepreneurs keep... Entrepreneuring?

Good morning innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.


This newsletter and podcast feature stories about the people – past, present and future – who change the world.  They make decisions and take actions enlivened by what I call The Entrepreneur’s Ethic.  The Entrepreneur’s Ethic infuses people, organizations and places where the future is created, and the world is made a better place.


One of the Entrepreneurs featured in my upcoming book, The Entrepreneur’s Ethic, is John Deere, the historic agricultural entrepreneur. Deere’s fame and fortune resulted from his work innovating the plow over decades, that most ancient of agricultural tools.


There are seven parts of The Entrepreneur’s Ethic. Deere’s work exemplifies Ethic 6: Enjoy the Edge. This is the truth-seeking-orientation of entrepreneurship.

Deere’s fame and fortune resulted from his work innovating the plow over decades, that most ancient of agricultural tools. Serial entrepreneur Colin Hurd has worked on much more modern tools for agriculture and beyond.

Colin's most recent business, MACH, develops technology for solutions in perception, navigation, route planning, monitoring, and connectivity. If it’s off-road and autonomous, Colin is probably working on it.


My discussion with Colin that covered how technology will impact agriculture, what’s guided his decisions while creating three businesses, and, in spite of the challenges in starting and scaling business, why he keeps doing it. I enjoyed this conversation with Colin and know you will too.


Good Reads





Three Things I Think (I Think)


One of the unique privileges of serving at Iowa State University is the opportunity to watch young people I meet while enrolled at ISU later go into the world and make good things happen. People like this week’s podcast guest, Colin Hurd, who I first met when he took a class I teach at Iowa State University, ECON 334/Entrepreneurship in Agriculture. He went on to take the startup business idea from that class successfully into the world and now so much more.


What makes for the most remarkable stories for the entrepreneurs, innovators and change-makers who I met first as students and who are now making a dent in the universe?


1.     They’re working on something they care about deeply – I’ll run into someone who took a class from me in the past and they’ll say something like, “Hey, Kevin, I just want to let you know that I’m doing it.” And they say that with a big smile. Then we’ll go on to discuss what it is they’re working on. Often a new business or farm, but always something they care about. A. Lot.

2.     They’re leveraging what they’ve learned but also learning much more – In the same conversations they’ll say, “I’m using what I learned in your class.” But then I ask what they learned in the class. Because I don’t know! An entrepreneurship course isn’t about learning facts or formulas. It’s more about the experience of what it takes to move an idea to action and leveraging actions into building an effective project, initiative, or organization. Continual curiosity and learning are a constant part of the process.

3.     They’ve tapped into their imagination and creativity – Everyone has a desire to express their creativity in some way. And those who do are described by others as high-energy, on-fire, passionate. Too often creativity is associated only with the artistic. It is so much more. I get messages like this from Natalie at Hightail Delivery, who is starting her creamery: "If you have any free time this summer, I’d love to give you (and anyone else you’d like to join you) a tour of my new adventure." When people are excited about something, they share it!


Farm to My Table


Speaking of creameries… One of the great things about development of creameries by creatives in the dairy industry is the explosion in availability of artisan cheeses. An example from our table is Lost Lake Farm in Jewell, Iowa. Kevin and Ranae Dietzel have a story that winds its way through Minnesota, Germany and back to Iowa. We have served all of their cheeses, but most recently it was their Burrnt Oak. This Camembert uses ash from a fallen 200-year-old Burr Oak tree from their farm. Some pear-pepper jam from our own orchard and garden was a nice addition, too.


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