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June 12, 2018 0 comments

Why Did You Cheat?


Did you ever cheat on a test?  You can admit, even if it was a third-grade spelling test, you probably felt pretty bad.

That’s because we are taught to believe that cheaters never prosper.  We’ve been socialized and conditioned to be independent and self-made.  Heck, even our perception of the “American Dream” is one best realized through a combination of self-sacrifice and self-created opportunity.

Our friends at SLAM Digital Agency compared the St. Louis and Miami startup communities in this cool video battle, which prompted our thinking about his week’s question:  how much can we learn by studying the work of others?

By no means do we advocate for cheating your way through life, but perhaps there’s something to living beyond our silos.

Reinventing The Wheel?
Well known for its case study method of teaching, the Harvard Business School experience focuses on connecting the dots—collectively. Rather than an insular focus on self, it emphasizes that the discovery of more effective strategies and ideas is a social process– much like innovation.   “The principles and techniques are developed through collaboration and cooperation with friends and colleagues, and through self-observation and reflection.” In essence, there’s equal power in learning by listening to others as there is in learning by doing.

The Sources Are Open
Intellectual property considerations aside, innovation is not a zero-sum game.  It’s a multiplayer experience.  One’s aversion to an open-source culture only illuminates a lack of confidence in the ability to execute.  More often than not, what makes your product, service, or company competitive is your unique insight,  skill or expertise. Now, why not share your wealth of experience?

Swallow Your P-R-I-D-E
Innovation can’t thrive in a vacuum. Yet, commercial viability is a function of market dynamics (and funding, opportunity, access, and a whole host of other factors) There is a reason why every basic pitch deck includes the slide on the market opportunity.  We often overlook the value of the crowd and the learnings available from those that occupy the same space.  When properly realized, we can better benchmark our progress, understand how we measure up against other, and most importantly, connect with potential collaborators. So, with a little help from friends, you can do more than just get by, you can thrive.

Cheers,

Venture Cafe Miami

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