Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.
Sometimes all at Once.
08TH October 2012
A Line In the Sand - Adventure - Creative problem Solving - Culture - Entrepreneur - Leadership - Timeless - Uncategorized
We recently took an investment from an angel who was graduated Cambridge and shared this tidbit:
One enterprising undergraduate examined the University statutes prior to an examination and discovered that all students sitting exams in full fusc are entitled to a glass of sherry. He demanded his due in the exam, and the University’s Proctors duly responded, before fining him one shilling for failing to wear his sword, allegedly also part of the archaic statutes.
The point he made was, he fully expected that if I ever sat for an exam again I would cite a medieval code, perhaps in Latin, to set the playing field in my favor. I laughed it off at the time as a Frasier-Crane like idiosyncratic remark. But it got me thinking…
I have actually walked Temple Church in London, trekked the Crusader Castles from Syria to Jerusalem, visited the site of Jacque Demolay’s burning at the stake by King Philip IV, and never pass a chance to hoof through a cathedrale on any of my many visits to France. My family name is Norman French (the De Spencer meant warehouse manager, back in the day) and became English a bit after 1066 (lineage impossible to prove, or disprove). So if I wasn’t actually a Templar in training all these years, I certainly went through the paces. As per usual with Spencer’s, I did it without even knowing why.
Irony is, of course, none of these experiences hold a candle to entrepreneurship when it comes to having so many chances to do something with purpose, and to hone a craft in pursuit of that goal. There are so many risks to combat, so many people to inspire and lead, so many “bet the holy sites” decisions to be made every day I have come to rely on a basic code that I recite every day, and spend hours meditating on: my mission statement as taught to me by Steven Covey of Seven Habits. I have become a crusader for doing what is fair and best for the company and all its stakeholders while building enterprise value along the way. And I take it seriously enough to blank out everything else around me when I am engaged.
But to be honest, that’s about the only way to succeed in start ups today.
So what’s my point? None really. I just consider start ups to be the great Crusader challenge of the 21st century.
I love what I do. And I have a sword. Touche’ BB
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