June 27, 2010

Unless you were the kind of kid who won Spelling Bees you’ll be surprised to learn that according to Webster’s, the definition of the word mad is not just angry, rather it is: 1. suffering from or manifesting severe mental disorder; insane; psychotic. 2. angry. 3. wildly foolish; rash: a mad project. 4. of animals, rabid. 5. showing a passionate infatuation with or desire for: with about, for, or over. 6. flamboyant: daring.

While I can’t speak to 1, 2, 3 or 4; I can speak to 5 and 6. If you went in search of entrepreneurs the world over you’d be hard pressed to find one that wasn’t passionately infatuated with their vision and a lot daring.

Passion and daring also come in lots of shades. For example, my oldest daughter recently married Jay Borschel, National Champion and All American wrestler for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Jay had a simple vision – to win; nothing more, nothing less, nothing fancy, nothing wasteful. For most of his career announcers called him methodical, a tactician, a by-the-book wrestler. Then, in the semi-final match of the 2010 National Championships he found himself down nine to three with two minutes to go. It was then that he exposed the fire in his belly to world. One reversal, a take-down, a stalling point on his opponent and riding time gave him the seven points he need to win. Never, ever, ever, in the four years of watching Jay wrestle for Iowa have I ever seen such daring and passion. The announcers were speechless, his fans were hoarse.

In the early 1980s Bill Gates, a guy not that dissimilar to Jay (in his own line of work), had a simple mantra: a computer on every desktop and in every home, running Microsoft software. That’s crazy daring! Madly optimistic. Look where it got him.