Chip Shots by Chip Griffin

Curiosity Feeds the Entrepreneur

Curiosity may well have killed the cat, but it feeds the entrepreneur.

I like to learn more about a lot of different things. While some may become truly expert in a narrow vertical, I tend to think that I have a wide array of knowledge, but little of it at expert depth. I’m always keen to learn more, but not just in the world of online media and communications that I specialize in.

A few weeks ago I found myself watching a PBS show about the history of the Sphinx in Egypt. Often my wife will become mildly irritated when I record a show like that on “her” DVR for future viewing. But I’m just intensely curious about things, especially science and history.

Just last night I finished reading Bill Bryson’s book A Walk In the Woods that chronicles his attempt at hiking the Appalachian Trial. Now this isn’t exactly a new book. Indeed, it is more than a decade old. I came to read it on the recommendation of a friend who suggested it after I mentioned that I had once toyed with the idea of walking the trail myself.

That entire notion will seem very funny to those who know me well since I often say that my idea of camping is a Sheraton and my idea of summer outdoor living is sitting on my screened porch.

But it is my curiosity that drove that interest. And reading Bryson’s book only raised more questions of curiosity for me. He includes a number of fascinating sidebars, like a brief exploration of the geographical history of the Earth. Alas, he raises more questions than answers as he talks about geographic formations dating back hundreds of millions of years. When he mentions the last Ice Age peaked a mere 20,000 years ago, it ends up sounding just like yesterday.

Yet we are all absorbed with the here and now. While understandable, it is important to step back and look at the bigger picture. Allow curiosity to draw you in to learn more.

That same notion applies to the challenges facing anyone in a professional capacity, but entrepreneurs in particular must rely on that curiosity and a longer view of things to find creative solutions and take reasonable risks.

By all means become an expert in something, but never give up the quest to learn more. You will often pick up tidbits of information that you may be able to use directly in your own projects. In other cases, you may simply get inspiration that will help in the solution process.

Curiosity is indeed a killer — a killer advantage.

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