Of all the various tactics one can use as part of an entrepreneurial strategy, the tactic which requires the most courage and fearlessness is perhaps the tactic of burning bridges and passing on opportunities in order to accomplish one’s personal goal, mission, and vision. During my short-lived days as a law student, one of my professors told me that it is a very bad idea to burn bridges and sever ties with people. But perhaps the opposite is true if we change our mentality. For instance, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates gave up an opportunity to go to Harvard in order to set up shop in their parents’ house and in turn become the top entrepreneurs of the world.
Thus, an entrepreneur can either conform to the system, or an entrepreneur can transform the system. It all depends on which path the entrepreneur decides to take. I have already discussed the “transformational” level of entrepreneurship in previous blog posts. By conforming, one becomes dependent on others. But by transforming, others become dependent on the entrepreneur. Although conformity is something that can be done easily and quickly, whereas transformation is gradual and slow, one can go back to the famous story of the “Tortoise and the Hare” to know that slow wins the race.
I cannot account for how many bridges I have burned and how many opportunities I have passed on in order to get to my current existential and eschatological state. I have gotten to the point where I have burned so many bridges and have passed on so many opportunities, that I am now at a point where God is my only friend, guide, and helper. As of recently, perhaps the biggest bridges I burned were LinkedIn and Twitter. Moreover, when people ignore you on LinkedIn and Twitter – even though your content is far superior than theirs and your utilization of social media is far more complex than theirs – it is perhaps a sign that the time is ripe to burn bridges and give people the proverbial middle finger.
Plus, after I found a few good friends through LinkedIn and Twitter, social media no longer served my entrepreneurial strategy and objective. Thus, after finding what I wanted to find on social media – namely, a couple of cool and interesting friends – I banked on the content quality of my blog rather than social media as the key to my entrepreneurial strategy. My niche market is an email list of government, journalism, academia, and student entities from around the globe, and there are other individuals around the world who view the blog on a regular basis. Also, I am still waiting on an invite from one of my friends in London for either coffee, tea, lunch, or dinner. But as Voltaire said: “When a woman says ‘no,’ it means ‘maybe.’ When a woman says ‘maybe,’ it means ‘yes.’ And if a woman says ‘yes,’ it means she is not a lady.”
There is also a concept in government known as “Track II Diplomacy.” This concept suggests that private individuals can conduct work of a diplomatic nature with individuals in other societies, which in turn will lead to diplomatic breakthroughs on an official level, or “Track I” level. Some of the greatest breakthroughs in “Track I” diplomacy came out of the “Track II” level. One of these breakthroughs is the “Oslo Accords” of 1993 signed in the White House between Israel and the ‘Palestinian Liberation Organization’ (PLO). The “Oslo Accords” were the result of private efforts on the part of a Norwegian scholar, which is perhaps a fact that is often forgotten or ignored. Thus, as they say, anything is possible.