Introduction to July – Leadership (How to Be a Pirate)

pirateflagThere are born leaders and learned leaders. There are men, and women, who take hold of the reins with instant adeptness and guide others with a hand that is both firm and gentle. Those are the leaders we admire. We take their words and post them on our walls, attribute our greatness to the path they've made and aim to make the same impact they have made in the world of business. The end game of business is to be respected by your employees and customers. To be a reliable figure in the community and make a product worth having requires time and patience. But there isn't just one mold for every leader. The basics remain the same but the path to get there can be vastly different.

Steve Jobs summed up the difference in leaders with a single phrase. “It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” Being an entrepreneur does not conform to a certain standard. It isn't a big corporation with rules to follow. There are no markers on the path or guardrails to keep you from falling down the mountain. Leading as an entrepreneur is about taking the tools you have and creating a completely new road. Pirates don’t join the Navy. Pirates make the Navy wish they had the talent Pirates have on their crews. They toss aside the rules for naval life and begin their own list of guidelines. They use a pencil to write because nothing is set in stone for them. For any true entrepreneurial leader the Navy will never, ever cut it.

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A leader is a mash-up of parts. They have the instinct to lead others whether by a stern arm or a gentle hand. They have the wiles to innovate and personality that borders on insanity at times. Leaders can take the guise of a humble workers or an acerbic genius. Their willingness to impose their own rulebook on the industry with no fear is what creates those quotes we’re inspired from. Steve Jobs didn't sit behind a desk and delegate every task to someone else. He bounded through doors and demanded action. The frenetic energy of an entrepreneur is what makes all the difference. It is what draws the line between a leader and an entrepreneur. A leader in the Navy leads. An entrepreneur of a Pirate crew dances with swashbucklers.

And really…who wouldn't want to be a pirate?

– Ash


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