Sunday, August 11, 2013

Five Entrepreneurial Skills

"The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success are concentration, discrimination, organization, innovation and communication."

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

The well respected British scientist Michael Faraday would know about all those characteristics of an entrepreneur.

Despite little formal education, he became one of the most influential scientists in history.  Albert Einstein is said to have had a picture of Faraday in his study.  His contributions to the fields of electromagnetism, electrolysis and electrochemistry are well known and held in the highest regard.

Even though his mathematical abilities only approached the simplest algebra, he was able to simply and clearly explain his ideas.  Later it took James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein to describe his work mathematically.  They both stated that Faraday was in reality a mathematician of the highest order, saying that future mathematicians would benefit from Faraday's mind.  That must have been a thought not considered by Faraday in his time! 

The international unit of capacitance called a farad, and the Faraday Constant are named in his honor.

Having various labs and working with many people, Faraday developed many principles and inventions.  We use his electric design called the Faraday Cage as a means of enclosing and shielding microwaves safely inside boxes in our kitchens that we use to cook with.  His work in what scientists call "field theory" lead in part to the later development of microwaves.

He knew something of concentration, discrimination (not in the modern "political" sense - he was foreign to our current use of the word), organization, innovation and concentration.  And he was familiar with entrepreneurship.  His work lead to breakthroughs in electromagnetism and electric rotary devices, chemistry and gases, and education of the same to young and old people alike in the form of fun Christmas lectures.  

Faraday said, "The lecturer should give the audience full reason to believe that all his powers have been exerted for their pleasure and instruction."  THAT should be the basis for education itself!

During one of his popular Christmas Lectures Faraday suggested to William Gladstone that his work was only appreciated by the British gubment because they found ways to tax it.  Then he turned down that same gubment when they wanted him to use what he discovered regarding chlorine gas to develop chemical weapons for use in the Crimean War in the 1850s.  His ethics prevented him!  He said he wanted his work and his behavior to be consistent with "the laws of nature." 

To be a successful entrepreneur one must be consistent with the laws of nature.

The laws of politics rarely are.

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