Benjamin Franklin is arguably one of the most famous, interesting and memorable founding fathers of the United States. He was a printer, statesman, diplomat and philandering womanizer. But he was also one of the greatest and most prolific inventors and entrepreneurs in modern history. He is proof that if you let the mind run free, there are no limits and no boundaries to innovation and the discovery of new ideas. His insatiable curiosity and desire to explore has led to a vast array of things that we benefit from today, and his life has inspired countless innovators to think and invent and create as well.
Some of the more famous things that Franklin is credited with inventing are bifocal glasses, the first medical catheter and the odometer. He is also credited with inventing the lightning rod, the first long-arm grabber and the Franklin stove. He also created the forerunner to the modern air conditioner and he was also the first to officially map the Gulf of Mexico. Franklin is a great example of how a curious mind can discover amazing and practical things simply by being allowed to wander free and explore.
In a sense, he epitomizes what an inventor and entrepreneur is, and many have followed in his foot steps over the years to bring amazing innovations to our daily lives. Entrepreneurs are renaissance men and women who don’t always stop after coming up with a single successful idea. And if you have an idea, area of interest or dream, never stop pursuing it until you find out if it will lead anywhere or not. You may stumble on to something that will endure for hundreds of years, make life easier for the public at large and transform a particular industry.
Franklin inspired people to dream up things like beer sleeves that keep drinks cold to Velcro. The Fanny Pack to the plastic lighter. Our world is full of little innovations that make our lives easier and more convenient. Entrepreneurs don’t always come up with original ideas either. Maybe they have the skills and talents to market a concept and bring it to the world. Sometimes they just do things a little bit differently and get lucky along the way. Entrepreneurs can hardly be defined or categorized in neatly packaged bundles, and some spend their lives discovering new things, or they take their brazen and unquenchable curiosity and experiment on various endeavors.
Small business owners are entrepreneurs in their own right, always looking for the right angle, the right idea or the right means to make money and become successful. Benjamin Franklin was a renaissance man who endured many failures as well as successes. His story is not that different than many of our own, and we can take comfort in realizing that not every good idea will be successful. But we should always remember that it only takes one to stick and make us healthy, wealthy and wise.