First, I want to say that Mike Brenan gave a great speech at Rotary today, and I pretty much agreed with everything he said, from observations about education reform to the upcoming Richland County sales tax referendum.
But I had to kid him a little afterwards about one thing he said. In the middle of a passage praising Adam Smith, free markets, individual initiative, personal responsibility and enterprise, he paused, this being the official Columbus Day, to extol Columbus as the original entrepreneur, a guy who had a great idea and went out and raised the funds to courageously pursue it.
Yeah, I said… but he did it entirely on a government grant. And he failed to do what he told his investors he would do — find a short sea route to China and the East Indies.
Christopher Columbus transformed the entire planet in ways that boggle the mind. To explore some of them, I recommend you read 1493, by Charles C. Mann. But as an entrepreneur, you might say he was sort of the Solyndra of his day.