The Olympic Spirit and Entrepreneurs

While watching the opening ceremonies last night, it’s difficult not to be choked up with the event.  Here are throusands of athletes from all walks of life coming together to see what they can accomplish.  No matter the event, it has been a dramatic part of their lives for a long time.  What’s even more surprising is that there were countries there that I didn’t even know existed (come on, are you really going to say you knew where Lesotho is located?)  However, what’s impressive here is the drive that brought them together.

For every Michael Phelps, there’s a Lauren Crandall (she is the captain for the US Field Hockey team).  However, did Lauren work less hard than Phelps?  Does she want to win any less?  It’s this Olympic spirit and drive that made me remember why I decided to create my own company.

For every Google there’s a MindGrub located here in Baltimore; for every Facebook there’s a WeLearn Educational Software.  Still, does that mean Todd Marks (CEO of MindGrub) wants success less than the big companies?  Do I (as CEO of WeLearn Software) want to be as successful as Facebook?  I think the answer here isn’t in the success; it’s in the desire to do better.  Being a newly formed software company, it always amazed me when people ask what I hope to accomplish.  You could ask me the same thing when I’m training for a marathon.  I want to improve.  I know I won’t win the race (my very respectable 3:42 marathon time is pretty far off from the 2:15 times that usually win marathons), but I know I want to do better than the last marathon I ran.

That’s the drive entrepreneurs share with Olympians.  It’s the desire to be the best but also realize there is only one gold medal.  We give up time with family and friends to improve our companies and make them even better.  We understand the amount of work and the amount of coffee it will take but we do it anyway.  Are we crazy?  Maybe a bit.  Are we driven? Absolutely. Will we be #1?  Probably not.  Then again, it’s doubtful that you will see Lauren on the podium stand getting the gold medal.  Still, her work ethic and continual drive to be the best in her specialty is a lesson that every entrepreneur can learn from.


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