I had started a series of posts called Startup Heroes to highlight the resilience and rapid adaptations that leaders of startups have carried out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout that resulted. I was going to publish the latest in the series today.
The CEO I was going to feature this week reached out to me and said that, in the aftermath of what happened to George Floyd and resulting protests, he just did not feel much like a hero. The protestors and supporters were the ones who should be in the spotlight. I agree.
The purpose of my posts were to celebrate the brave individuals who envisioned a future beyond the past and present, bet their fortunes, and invested their time to create a new business. Being an entrepreneur takes guts and should be celebrated. It requires vision, determination, and, above all, leadership to create a new business.
I see parallels to what is happening in the quest for social justice in America today.
Our global and local communities are in crisis; our society is at a crossroads. We crave the kind of leadership we see in these startups in our political and social realms. We seek this leadership but have found only more status-quo thinking. This is akin to expecting large, established companies to be the innovators. History has shown us that it is the entrepreneurs that drive us forward.
I am old enough to remember and have my world outlook influenced by many great leaders in social, political, and scientific disciplines – from Martin Luther King, to John Kennedy, to Jonas Salk. I am inspired by the selflessness we have seen from the medical professionals who battled COVID-19, too. So, I dedicate this post to the many leaders in startups, in social movements, and elsewhere who will drive us to the kind of society that we both want and deserve.