Pete Seeger, musician and revolutionary, a beacon of social justice and change, was foremost an evangelist for hope and the human spirit. On January 27th, at the age of 94, he left us with a huge legacy of why “the world would never amount to a hill of beans if people didn’t use their imaginations to think of the impossible.”
Being an entrepreneur, as we know, is all about taking risks and imagining the impossible. These risks come in many forms, but they are usually about the risk of losing time and money in exchange for the reward that your creative idea can create value for your customers and stakeholders alike — and maybe even make the world a better place.
At last Friday’s Startup School graduation, our February participants presented their final business presentations.
We heard compelling value propositions from TradeNow, KickBeta, SpotLime, Mertiocracy, and Monkey Parking — all risky proposals emanating from “start-uppers” raised in risk-averse cultures from Italy, Greece, Hungary, Russia, and as Far East as India, where entrepreneurship is often met with the conservative refrain: “Are you crazy? Get a job!”
Guest speaker Denise Jacobs reminded us we can respond to the inner voices of fear and “destructivity” — I don’t know enough, I’m going to look stupid, I’m not good enough, I’m going to fail — by enlisting the “Superman/Wonder Woman” pose and other behavioral techniques to unblock our creativity toward entrepreneurial success.
But one glance at their graduation picture, and you could see there was something else working in the group, an undeniable quality beaming from everyone’s face — the charisma of hope.
“All I know is I wish I could live another 30 or 40 years, because some of the most exciting things are going to happen,” said Seeger in a 1998 Public Radio International interview. Telling the story of his response to a perennial pessimist, he said, “…don’t be so confident that there’s no hope.” Then Seeger gave the defeatist a bumper sticker that said, “There’s No Hope…But I May Be Wrong.”
Thanks for everything, Pete — your banjo, your music, your hard work for social change, and most of all, for your message of hope and the lesson that some risks are worth taking.
And thanks to our February Start-Uppers for your passion, creativity, and imagining what’s possible. On behalf of Marco Marinucci, Alberto Onetti, the Mind the Bridge Mentors, and staff — great job everyone!
Director, Mind the Bridge Startup School