Seeking the entrepreneur.

One of the key propositions of "Mittelmaß und Wahnsinn" (Mediocrity and Madness) is that almost as a law of nature, size drives mediocrity. You can reasonably argue that all the initiatives your average corporate giant undertakes are made to fight this correlation: "Customer Focus -- Season 7", "Operational Excellence -- Season 12", "Vision 20XX", or the later fads: "Design Thinking", "Lean Startup", "Culture of Failure" ... . You name it.

The problem is: fighting laws of nature is ... well "a challenge". In the end, statistics will prevail. Entropy will take the victory. The book argues that organising autonomy is maybe the only way to find a realm where this law does not apply as sizes are different. But I'm getting further and further away from what I actually wanted to write about today.

More than fifteen years ago I came across a deck of postcards at the Audi museum in my hometown Ingolstadt. I was so impressed that I got them enframed and ever since then they are on the wall of my office. I have changed offices quite often but the wisdom of these cards holds true. Here are the "ten commandments for seekers of success" as formulated by Johann Baptist Winklhofer, founder of the Wanderer Werke, one of the predecessors of that renowned car manufacturer. At the beginning of the previous century:

  1. The essence is a thorough understanding of one's profession.
  2. The ambition to do everything better than anybody else.
  3. Sticking to the principle that the customer must get only the best for his money.
  4. A never ending joy from one's work.
  5. Working with the latest methods and the best equipment only.
  6. The biggest part of the earned money has to be used for acquiring means to improve.
  7. The right person in the right place.
  8. Living simple and humble so you can start working early with a clear mind.
  9. Getting accustomed to the idea that you can not and do not have to to make every possible deal.
  10. Finally, a big portion of patience to wait for one's efforts' success, even when it looks dire at times.

What more could one say?

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