Friday, May 13, 2005

Don't let the bastards get you down

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I remember when I was growing up, my dad having a plaque in his den given to him by his college buddies, which said "Illegitimi non carborundum," the Latin equivalent of "Don't let the bastards get you down." Well, the Wall Street Journal's StartupJournal.com has a great reminder of that up right now, detailing how most of the biggest innovations in modern history were at first greeted with scorn and ridicule by almost all who were exposed to them.

I admit, this arts center I'm trying to open here in Chicago right now is full of ideas that could charitably be called "unorthodox:" we're going to be a commercial company, for example, instead of a non-profit one; working writers will get free admission to all events, in return for donating the rights for us to publish three of their stories or poems for commercial release; many of our events are going to be organized and run by actual audience members, not staff members. And I also admit, I've received my share of less-than-flattering opinions of the business plan as well, including several declarations that such a plan will never, ever work in the real world. Even though I think it's important to seek outside opinion on business plans, this recent post at StartupJournal.com reminds me that legitimately innovative ideas really are seen as a threat by a lot of people when they're first introduced, and that shouldn't necessarily stop you from going forward with the innovation. It's a reminder all us startup people can use on a regular basis.