Tag: Ornette Coleman

“It’s not that I reject categories. It’s that I don’t really know what categories are.” – Ornette Coleman

Musicians have to struggle with categories.  Should they conform to a particular format, style or even the expectations of their fan base?  If they do, they can win short term success but in the end, they are known for the past.

Entrepreneurs can get into the same trap if they look where everyone else is playing.  Incremental improvements on other’s ideas won’t change the world.

It’s easy to be a critic.  Critics report on the status quo.  Critics react to change. Your job is not to please the critics.  Rather, create something that will delight your customers.  Give them something they’ve never had before.

Let the critics create the categories…AFTER you’ve already been there.


“I wasn’t so interested in being paid. I wanted to be heard. That’s why I’m broke.” – Ornette Coleman

Sometimes, entrepreneurs have to give themselves permission to get rich.  For many, getting rich is not the primary motivation… and that is as it should be.  Drucker says the primary purpose of the business is to have a customer.  Having a customer means you have solved a problem someone else is willing to pay for.

If you’re lucky enough to get rich, that’s because it is an effect, not a cause.  It’s the result, not the reason.

But it’s ok for wealth to be number 2.  It gives you opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have; like philanthropy or starting your next company!