For me, the 4th of July is a day that not only celebrates our nation’s independence, but reminds me that it is a privilege to think freely, to pursue our dreams and passions with dedication, and to fight for the things that we want in life. And as I spent time reflecting on the upcoming holiday, I couldn’t help but think that, for a startup, there is much to relate to from our country’s pursuit of its independence. After all, The United States’ first startup is arguably The United States itself. A lot of hard work went into the creation of this nation, and few things were easy, which is something that our founders, soldiers and citizens knew well. Yet here we stand, 237 years later. And if we take a few pages out of the founding fathers’ book, we notice some important principles that contributed to their success that can be applied to our own endeavours.
You Need Your Top Talent
I mean, come on! We certainly had some rock stars involved in this startup. Most obvious is Benjamin Franklin, the renaissance man of his day. He was a writer, politician, scientist, artist, musician and more, and is often thought of as the defining persona of American culture and society. Before there was Broseph, there was Brojamin.
And the list doesn’t stop there. John Adams was a practicing lawyer, author, political activist and well known Massachusetts delegate to the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress. Thomas Jefferson was a well educated colonial lawyer and a representative in the House of Burgesses. James Madison graduated from the College of New Jersey, now Princeton, in only two years, and continued to study with the college president after graduating. George Washington was a recognized senior officer during the French & Indian War before the American Revolution.
Before they were the founding fathers, they were already prominent, educated and talented individuals in their fields. Their ideas and opinions carried weight among the colonies. And yes, they still hit roadblocks throughout the struggle for independence, but they were prepared to handle what came their way.
You’ve Got to Get Your Pitch Right
Jefferson spent two and a half weeks writing draft after draft of the Declaration of Independence. He would rise early for breakfast and tea, and then sit at his desk and toil away, tearing up draft after draft, toying with ideas, changing the wording and crossing out entire sections. When he finally presented his work to Franklin and Adams, even more changes were made, and several ideas were disputed. The Continental Congress cut roughly a quarter of the content from the document before it was finalizing.
This just goes to show you how important it really is to get your pitch right. Presenting the right ideas in the right words in the right way can go a long way. The Declaration of Independence was a fundamental document for the founders’ pursuits, and is, afterall, now one of the most important documents in United States’ history.
To be fair, this might not have gone as well on PowerPoint.
Passion is Critical
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
If that’s not passion, I don’t know what is.
You Have A Lot of Hard Work Ahead, But It’s Worth it.
The fighting began at Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, leading to a full scale war for independence by the following year. During that time, the colonies experienced hardship and strife, with gruesome battles, harsh conditions and the loss of significant life. It wasn’t until 1779 that The United States of America effectively won their independence, with fights continuing well into the 1780s.
We do not endure the hardships of such a time, but there is something to be learned from the hard work and dedication of these men. Thomas Paine, in his pamphlet series, ‘The American Crisis’ wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
So become inspired while enjoying a great 4th of July and holiday weekend! And make sure you bring the good beer. Hey, there’s a reason they kept Samuel Adams around. We hope you got some valuable advice from our startup lessons!