This year I´ve been reading a few books related to the history of international trade. Some of the stories that have enthralled me the most come from the book Spice, the history of a temptation by Jack Turner. Turner describes very well the almost total uncertainty under which discoverers launched themselves in search of new lands with the hope of finding precious treasures. Their stories were full of braveness, passion, persistence, and not less disappointment, exhaustion, hunger and, even in some cases, death.
I couldn´t avoid finding a parallel between the character of those explorers of the old world with the modern entrepreneurs who dare to follow their beliefs against all odds and circumstances.
Some of the most famous explorers:
- convinced crews of people about the existence of unknown paths to rich lands,
- took upon themselves the task of seeking for financial support for their trips from Queens, Kings and other benefactors,
- led voyages through inexorable places,
- gave proof of the success of their expeditions in order to secure support for future trips,
- not only they worried about survival but found their way through “the perilous shoals” of politics, bureaucracy, ignorance, etc. in the places discovered,
- in not few occasions they also found disappointments in their ambitious enterprises.
Moreover, most of the time they believed in something no one else understood. They sailed off seeking for spices, gold and other treasures to places many only dreamed about but never dared to find.
Probably there is a lot we can learn from the past times about how to find our way to a new world of greater empathy, solidarity and peace. There was a moment when the “entire” world laughed at the idea of the earth being round. Why should we now be distressed when so few seem to be betting their lives upon truly intelligent, long-lasting, business models?
No doubt this time human beings will make their best bid by setting their trust on humanity first and, then, on material goods. So, impact investors and social entrepreneurs, launch yourselves into this voyage full of bewilderment and rewards and…let the others follow!.