Make a living, make a difference – learn from every disaster

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Like many people, I love and hate books by and about entrepreneurs. Some are helpful, some are barely disguised promotional pieces, some are hagiographies and some are gossip-packed hit pieces.

Some are more about luck – and how the protagonist happened upon a timely formula or an emerging technology just as it was taking off.

And some are actually useful.

Raise the Bar – Change the game by Brian Marcel bills itself as “a success primer for budding entrepreneurs who want to change the world.”

This might be my bias, but I am convinced that this is what the world needs – not another story about a boy-genius who lucks into unimaginable wealth and technological dominance, but someone who spots an opportunity and, not only uses it, but gives the rest of us a template for spotting the next one.

Yes, success is always about being in the right place at the right time, having the right skill set and knowing the right people, but it takes at least one more thing – the ability to spot a trend and move on it.

This collision of technology and opportunity can be not only profitable (and frustrating, and exhilarating) but also, as we have seen with several technologies from smart phones to barcode, can change the game entirely.

If there is one thing we can count on in business, it is that the rules change, the terrain changes and yes, those who would ride those changes must be prepared to change as well.


Each chapter of this book ends with a “Lessons learned” section. These alone are worth the price of the book – and a summarization of business school in a few lines.

Learning from disasters and successes alike is crucial to lasting success – or even a sense of satisfaction – or at least reconciliation – after an unexpected challenge or difficulty.

The book ends with a coda of sorts – interview questions to ask and a list of recommended books to read.

In short, Marcel’s point is that opportunities are waiting to be seized, the ride is never simple or predictable, but the one who thrives is the one who holds on – or if thrown – gets back on.

For better or worse, who among us could imagine life without barcodes?