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Off With His Head

There’s a great anecdote in Matt Ridley’s wonderful book, The Rational Optimist. Matt tells the story, passed down through the centuries by written accounts at the time, of when the Roman emperor Tiberius was approached by an entrepreneur who had discovered a method for manufacturing unbreakable glass. Tiberius asked the enterprising fellow if anyone else knew of his secret, and was assured the secret was safe and no one else knew. Tiberius then had the man beheaded. Why? To protect the price of gold, which Tiberius figured would go through the floor if people put too much value on a material (glass) that he, Tiberius, did not control.

The story is shocking for obvious reasons but also telling – an inventor even in the midst of a prosperous empire had nowhere else to go other than the emperor for funding. Here’s to angels, VCs, personal credit cards, friends & family – whatever fuel you can put in your tank to get going with your venture!



About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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