Invent, Reinvent, Thrive

This page contains the items referenced in the book:

* Reinvention Curve
* Mirror Song

Reinvention Curve

Here, referenced in the book on pages 52-54, is a set of graphs relevant to reinvention, including the Reinvention Curve.

You probably think business reinvention is almost never necessary. After all, if each of the many tasks you do to start a business was a fork in the road and if you chose all the right forks, you would surely reach your destination. But in fact, serial reinvention is almost always necessary. Most people think that once you’ve chosen the right product and model, then with good execution your results will be excellent, as illustrated by the proverbial “hockey stick” shape seen in the following graph:hockeystick

If that were true, then every company that passed the start-up stage would emerge a winner, so long as each start-up successfully managed and implemented execution. Indeed, under that theory- -good product selection with continual, effective execution- – enables a company to continually succeed and last forever. Businesses, however, are not inherently “built to last.”

The Kaufmann Foundation, the largest research facility analyzing entrepreneurship, conducted a study of new businesses and concluded that the failures take place over a relatively long period  of time, namely 10 years or so (see the following figure).




What can be read from this analysis? It concludes that:

successful businesses, ones that can last, are (1) built to be susceptible and amenable to, and capable of, being reinvented as often as necessary, and (2) built by people who remain ready, willing, able, and confident enough to reinvent the business, as well as themselves, or to allow others to do so if they can’t or won’t do it themselves. This kind of situation is better illustrated by the curve shown here.

Play the video to see the animation.


You can see that the graph is created somewhat like the form of the arcade game Space Invaders. In that game, one shoots projectiles upward to blast invaders above.

For our purposes, the projectiles in the graph are things that happen and that would adversely affect a business. If the business were left as is, the projectiles would be effective and would destroy the business. If, however, the business is reinvented (represented by the next successive curve), it will move out of the projectiles’ range and be protected against those projectiles. The business will successfully grow, until the next time a challenge arises. In other words, each reinvention will be imperfect. Although a timely reinvention may save the day, at some point weariness, competition, or changes in customer demand will cause the entrepreneurial momentum to peak and begin a decline. Then the reinvention process must be repeated.
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Mirror Song

On Page 185, there is a reference to a song, the Mirror.

In family businesses, even though the founders are gone, their values are embedded in the DNA they’ve passed on to their descendants. Often those values are elusive, especially where the memories aren’t kept alive, as they should be, by stories and lore, or by more tangible jogs to memory. Consider carefully the lines in the following stanza of

“The Mirror” by Joie Scott and Bob Stewart:

It was just a mirror. Didn’t mean much to me at the time. Just a simple piece of glass, but oh, the things it’s seen. Years gone by, good and bad times, family history. Every time I find myself staring back at myself, I see there’s more in that mirror than just me. 

Here’s a stream of the song:


If you’d like to buy the whole song, it is on Joie Scott’s page on CD Baby.

By the way, congratulations to Joie Scott on her nomination for the Daytime Emmy’s 2014, Outstanding Original Song For A Drama Series: The Young and the Restless,  “While We Can” – Composer & Lyricists: Kati Mac, Joie Scott

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