Tuesday, August 16, 2022



How Fathers Figure in the Creation of Entrepreneurs

Whether your father was present in your upbringing or not, he will always be a force, good and bad, in your business.


The statistics pertaining to what kind of upbringing is most likely to result in the creation of a successful entrepreneur have a wide dispersion, are completely contradictory, and totally inconclusive. That's even before you consider the fact that the vast majority of the collected data deals almost exclusively with white males and a smattering of male immigrants, typically Asian or Indian. Needless to say, this accumulated data doesn't have a whole lot to say about today's multi-cultural and multi-gender entrepreneurial world. And don't even get me started on the famous "nature" versus "nurture" debate.

Predictive factoids, formulations, and fantasies were and continue to be prevalent across media and literature. There are conclusions about birth order, divorced parents, single parent (always a mother), unemployed or fired parents, rich or poor - and none of them has ever made a material or meaningful contribution to the world's understanding. Frankly, it's unlikely that these conclusions will improve in the future, but the search for certainty continues.

None of this matters: whatever family situation gets you started on the startup journey is only a small part of the path to ultimate success. Passion, preparation, perseverance, and perspiration -- basic hard work-- play just as big a part in anyone getting to the goal line as family lineage. 

At the same time, in my own hundreds of conversations over the last 50 years with successful entrepreneurs, I have found a single correlative consideration to be present in an astounding number of cases. Starting from amazingly young ages and spanning decades of interactions and life changes, how you feel about your father and the changes over time in your relationship with him have a dramatic and lifelong impact on you as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are always builders, and even they don't always realize that what they're forever trying to build is a bridge back to their fathers. This is also why so many of them confuse and can't effectively separate their work from their self-worth.

Let me state my own caveat at the start - my comments, conversations and conclusions have to do exclusively with my own interactions, discussions and observations of the male entrepreneurs I've dealt with over the decades. So, my perspective and impressions are limited in that regard even though it's obvious that successful female entrepreneurs may share many of the same feelings and experiences. Experience and anecdotal information is certainly not evidence. But, make no mistake, these feelings are at the very heart of the drive, desire, and success of millions of individuals building businesses throughout the world.

In a few words, the American poet Robert Frost probably expressed it best: "You don't have to deserve your mother's love. You have to deserve your father's." Most entrepreneurs I know spend a lifetime trying to earn that love and respect. It's never an easy task, but it's an inevitable and unavoidable one. And it starts early on - sometimes couched in ironic references, but almost always pretty close to the surface and easily combined with a touch of anger and a big chip on the shoulder. Armed with a grin and hiding behind painful humor.

One CEO said his father stole most of his childhood. Another joked that one day his father took him aside and left him there. Fatherless children - whether through disappearance, death or divorce - feel abandoned, cheated, and forever angry deep down inside.  As Sam Fender sings in Seventeen Going Under: "That's the thing with anger, it begs to stick around. So it can fleece you of your beauty."

I believe that, if you haven't had a good father or lost one abruptly, you have to create your own. Many entrepreneurs feel that their businesses are surrogate families and literal extensions of their own lives, which they can better craft and control than their own upbringings. They think they can make things "right" this time around. Everything becomes far more personal and emotional - commitments and loyalty, among other things, are regularly tested - because the business's success is so psychologically important to the entrepreneur's mental health as well as to his or her financial well-being.

This is also the reason that so many fathers (much to their late-in-life dismay) get so wrapped up in making a living that they lose sight of the need to make a life for themselves and their families as well. If they're not careful, the cycle repeats itself and, as Harry Chapin wrote long ago in a song called Cat's in the Cradle: "And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me. He'd grown up just like me. My boy was just like me."  Sam Fender calls it "a mirrored picture of my old man."

Writers and especially academics spend a great deal of time stressing the importance of finding mentors at critical junctures throughout your career without really appreciating that the path, the boundaries, the tenor and the final destination for so many entrepreneurs are set and defined early on by our parents, and especially our fathers.

Our mothers may be our first coaches, but our fathers are our earliest and most essential mentors. The most pivotal person in a young man's life isn't a lecturer or teacher, it's someone who offers and demonstrates that they care unreservedly about that kid as an individual and have his back. The best fathers try to set the goals, dreams, and aspirations not only for themselves, but for their sons and daughters as well, but they do it from an emotional rather than a purely rational perspective. Young people need models, not critics.

Our mothers seek to protect us from the world while our fathers too often threaten us with its woes and worries. They think of this as preparation and protection for the often brutal and bitter road ahead, but it's a delicate and complex task and one that's easy to overdue. Fathers often use too much force.

Done well - the manifest grit, guidance, and encouragement create an unquenchable fire. Children with strong fathers learn to trust early, to believe that their needs will be met, that their fears will be addressed, and that they are wanted and loved. Overdone or done too pedantically and aggressively, and the process can create a destructive and debilitating albatross. Absent entirely, it's likely to lead to an even worse result.

The most important lesson for entrepreneurs as they mature and start families - whether their childhood was a supportive bed of roses or a thorny and painful garden of grief - is that you have two critical jobs to do at the same time. You've got to build a business and, if you have them, also raise strong, secure and resilient kids if you ever want to call yourself a true success. But, unlike startups which provide regular opportunities for course corrections, new starts, and even do-overs, you only get one chance and one lifetime to make the best life for your family while you're trying to make a living as well.

What we know for sure is this: Your family is a much more important extension of yourself than any work you will ever do. Don't sell them short.

AUG 16, 2022

Saturday, August 13, 2022



Exhibit A of Trump’s Recklessness

The classified documents recovered by federal agents at the former President’s Mar-a-Lago estate add to the picture of his out-of-control behavior after he lost the 2020 election.

By David Rohde

August 12, 2022



On Friday, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ended at least some of the speculation about the search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate by Justice Department officials and F.B.I. agents. Documents unsealed by the judge showed that, during the raid earlier this week, agents had discovered and removed four sets of top-secret documents and seven other sets of classified documents from Trump’s home. One group of documents was described as “classified TS/SCI documents,” an acronym for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information”—one of the highest levels of secrecy that exists in the U.S. government.

The search warrant unsealed by the judge sought “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed” in violation of three criminal statutes, including the Espionage Act, which prohibits “gathering, transmitting, or losing” information relating to the national defense, and carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison. All three of the potential offenses cited in the warrant are felony crimes. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that some of the documents pertained to nuclear weapons, an account the former President dismissed as a “hoax.” But the events of the past week raise the possibility that officials have finally found misconduct by Trump for which he can be held legally accountable.

A former Trump staffer said on Friday that Trump had the power as President to declassify top-secret information, and he could mount a defense in court that he did so before removing the documents from the White House. But senior officials who have been investigated, in the past, for improperly handling classified information—including David Petraeus, a C.I.A director during the Obama Administration, and Sandy Berger, a national-security adviser during the Clinton Administration—eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for unlawfully removing secret documents.

The political implications for Trump remain to be seen. Trump’s base, of course, will believe that the Justice Department and the F.B.I. are falsely accusing him. But, for everyone else, a sense of exhaustion with Trump’s antics feels inevitable. The credit goes to an unlikely figure—Attorney General Merrick Garland. In an unexpected news conference on Thursday, Garland announced that he was asking for the warrant to be unsealed. It was a way of puncturing Trump’s bluster about the raid. Garland also defended the men and women of the Justice Department and the F.B.I. “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” he said. Garland was measured in his tone. He was balanced and fair. He did not smear Trump, nor did he publicly accuse him of any crimes. It remains unclear if Trump will be prosecuted. But Garland stood up for the rule of law and also respected the rule of law.

In the days ahead, Trump—as he has done so effectively in the past—will deflect and dissemble. One of his initial defenses on Friday was to falsely claim in social-media posts that President Barack Obama had taken tens of millions of government documents after leaving office: “What are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?” A statement from the National Archives and Records Administration refuted Trump’s assertion. The archives said that roughly thirty million pages of unclassified records from Obama’s eight years in office were transferred to a National Archives facility in the Chicago area and that they continue to be maintained by the agency. “Former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration,” the agency said.

The exposure of Trump’s lies is not new. During his four years in office, Trump was regularly shown to make false claims, exaggerate achievements, and smear enemies. But he was also careful to avoid crossing certain legal thresholds and to generally obey the advice of his lawyers. The Mueller report, for example, revealed that Trump was saved from patently obvious obstruction of justice when top aides—particularly White House counsel Don McGahn—declined to carry out his orders or managed to restrain him. When Trump withheld four hundred million dollars in aid from Ukraine as leverage to demand an investigation of his likely Democratic opponent, he kept his language vague in phone calls with President Volodymyr Zelensky, which helped him deny wrongdoing.

The classified documents collected by the F.B.I. agents at Mar-a-Lago, as well as the work of the January 6th committee, show that Trump was increasingly reckless at the end of his Presidency. Former Trump Administration officials have testified that the President’s behavior changed after he lost the election to Joe Biden in November, 2020. Warnings from White House lawyers that had previously reined Trump in were no longer effective. Whatever guardrails remained were cast aside.

For Americans who wish to look, their worst fears about Donald Trump are being confirmed. He recklessly handled some of the country’s most important secrets, including, apparently, information related to nuclear weapons. Tens of millions of Americans, undoubtedly, will continue to believe his conspiracy theories. But the steady compilation of facts by the January 6th committee, the Justice Department, and the F.B.I. is creating a post-November, 2020, record of negligence that exceeds Trump’s actions earlier in his tenure. The Mar-a-Lago search warrant showed that Trump has grown more rash, thoughtless, and heedless—and more unfit than ever for the Presidency. ♦



                   TRUMP'S NEXT TEST 

                JUST A MATTER OF TIME 


This Should Be Written in Prison Ink on Trump's Rear End When He's Finally in Jail


The Scumbags at Breitbart Could Also Have Obscured the Names of the Agents. They are as despicable as Trump.


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