Scar Tissue and Entrepreneurship
May 6 2010

This quote was in an article that hit my in box today:  “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” The quote was in an email that was referencing a post done by Copyblogger called Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well and is mentioned in his book Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Amazon link).

For some reason it reminded me of times when people talk about scar tissue as badges of honor in the world of technology entrepreneurship.  A lot of shit happens behind the scenes of a start-up company.  One in 10 make it big and most of the rest of them have some modicum of success or get to 2nd base or fail.  But in those other 9, a lot of practicing, a lot of learning, a lot of scarring occurs that make the next iterations closer to masterpieces.  Many successful entrepreneurs (and investors for that matter) I’ve met have a few ‘bad deals’ or shall we say deals that didn’t go as well as they would have liked under their belts.  The masterpieces are created because of the ‘pages of shit.’  Without those pages, experiences, and scars the masterpiece’s wouldn’t have happened.  This is true in music, writing, entrepreneurship, sports, etc.

Just think about how many baskets Michael Jordan must have missed in order to make as many as he did.  Unfortunately, in the world of start-up businesses we can’t physically (time, money, etc.) get up to bat or shoot at the basket that many times.  So we have to get through the pages of shit and heal fast so we can hopefully create some masterpieces.

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