Good afternoon 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 Walt Disney, American animator, film producer and entrepreneur. Walter Elias Disney was a pioneer of the American animation and entertainment industry, and he had some battle scars to prove it.
There are seven parts of The Entrepreneur’s Ethic. Disney’s work exemplifies Ethic 4: Invest for Tomorrow. This is the future-orientation of entrepreneurship. Find here an historic case study from Walt Disney’s early career in the 1920s. It’s the story of his first breakout animated character. But the Rest of the Story is that this character is not a mouse. Disney would eventually envision the business model that guides the business he founded to this day, but this case study explores how early mistakes and business betrayals helped shape his later decisions. And seventy years after these events, Disney (the company) would enter a sports trade to get back what Walt Disney had lost in a set of events that can only be called weird.
-Cord-Cutting and YouTube TV, Disney Earnings, Pay TV’s Vision Cycles – Ben Thompson, Stratechery -You Are Not Destined to Live in Quiet Times – Walter Russell Mead, Tablet -“Intellectual humility” is a copout – Dr. Gina Gorlin
Three Things I Think (I Think)
Last weekend, I traveled to Hill County, Texas with Patti and the kids. We had the chance to visit Luckenbach, Texas, made famous by the 1977 song recorded by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. I’ve always thought that all the joy, wit, wisdom, and folly of being human was captured in country music. Are there any lessons entrepreneurs can draw from country music? 1. Back to the basics – “Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of love,” say the lyrics of the song. The idea of getting back to the basics when things in business aren’t going right seems to me a frequent theme. It comes out today more like “we need to get back to first principles.” It’s the same basic idea though. When overtaken by complexity, try to cut through it by paring back, reducing the noise, and reconsidering which basic ideas got the business to a good place. 2. Mind Your Own Business – “If you mind your own business, you’ll stay busy all the time,” say the lyrics of the Hank Williams, Jr. song. The cussed individualistic themes that run through country music can describe entrepreneurs too. Get your own business in order before worrying about telling others how they should be running theirs. 3. There’s always more to the story – John Bardy played some music while we were at Luckenbach. And told a story. The son-in-law of Luckenbach owner, Hondo Crouch (he bought the town in 1970!), was a musician playing a gig in Austin in 1968 on the same stage as the more-famous Jerry Jeff Walker. Prior to the show, Walker finished composing a new song, Mr. Bojangles. I had no idea of the roots of the song that I most associated as Sammy Davis, Jr.’s signature. There’s always more to the story, and the ability to learn and tell those stories is a skill that serves entrepreneurs in many, many ways.
Farm to my table