21 Jan Maybe “The Crazy Ones” Aren’t So Crazy.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates imagined what corporate giants could not. Don Quixote imagined windmills were giants and failed trying to tilt them.

How do you know if the crazy ones are crazy like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or, crazy like Don Quixote?

They all have the imagination to see what others do not. They are all driven by a sense of purpose. They all believe that an individual can be right when the mainstream doesn’t get it.

The difference may be a nuance which is easily missed.

Neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs set out to challenge corporate giants. They learned from them and partnered with them.

In the tradition of Bernard of Chartres (the Chartres Cathedral’s stained glass windows portray the new testament evangelists sitting on the shoulders of the old testament prophets) and Isaac Newton (“If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”), Gates and Jobs capitalized on what they learned from giants and partnered with them.

Bill Gates learned from the experience of designing the first PC operating system for IBM. Steve Jobs learned about making glass thin but durable from Corning.

Gates funded his start-up with licensing fees from IBM. Jobs partnered with Corning’s gorilla glass to realize the thin design of the i-Phone.

The trouble with partnerships isn’t lack of networking.

We are “networking” 24/7, connecting on LinkedIn, responding to emails, liking posts on social media, attending events, coworking, or hanging out in the local coffee shop, or just waiting for the train.

But partnerships are not easy to establish.

Consider how strategic partnerships are papered. Most partnership agreements are neither strategic nor designed to maintain a partnership.

They don’t establish what success looks like for the respective partners, which is the strategic purpose of the partnership. They are intended to protect each partner when the partnership dissolves – like a “pre-nup.” A “pre-nup” does nothing to maintain a marriage or save it.

Is it worth it to fix this? Yes. Because there is a benefit to corporations partnering with entrepreneurs who can sit on their shoulders and have the freedom to see what they don’t. And because these partnerships are getting messier. In today’s more complex world, it can take a team of experts, unrelated to each other by company or any affiliation, to see the whole picture.

Some may not be interested in being transparent with partners or equitable risk and reward. That will help separate the crazy ones like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs from the Don Quixotes.

Those who are open to thinking differently about collaboration will find willing partners at COMRADITY.

comradity
katherine@comradity.com