To succeed in business, and in life, you must be prepared to travel in unexpected directions.
Themes often run through the pages of Inc. Sometimes, that's a matter of planning, as in, it's May, and in May we typically focus on innovation. But at other times, themes sort of sneak into issues, and we see them only after reading each story, one after another, as we complete the issue. This month, the inadvertent theme turned out to be the rewards of curiosity.
It is a particularly relevant theme to me right now, because I've been thinking a lot about my son, Will, who's graduating from college this month. Like many young graduates, particularly liberal arts generalists, Will doesn't know what he wants to do in life. It worries him and thrills him, about in equal measure.
If I were to clip some useful articles for Will -- something my parents used to do for me, and which, I admit, I usually found annoying -- they would include three stories from this issue: "The Oracle," our cover story about Silicon Valley's resident philosopher, Tim O'Reilly; How I Did It, about Bob Moore of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods; and our back page, Legacy, about Joe Eichinger, a serial entrepreneur. Key to the considerable success of these three men is a curiosity that led them in unexpected directions and allowed them to pursue interesting lives, which in turn enriched the lives of others.
In this age of specialization and worry about financial security, we often overlook the worth and power of curiosity. It's something I hope Will keeps in mind when he's out in the world.