Updated: Sep 25, 2019
“One entrepreneur, a mechanically minded man since childhood, saw his chance to change the world. He saw a way to better it for people everywhere. So he set out, not to build his fortune, but to build his dream of a new way of life for everyday people.
He struggled with the challenges of honing his idea, prototyping countless versions of his product—each one a slight improvement over the last—and building his company. But his greatest struggle was with people who couldn’t see his vision, who couldn’t expand their focus and see things as they could be, rather than as they were. The battles were many, but he kept going. He doubted himself, made plenty of sacrifices along the way and got sidetracked many times. He failed often and, because he always loved famous sayings, he called failure “the opportunity to begin again—more intelligently.”
He wasn’t a good student and learned very little in school, but he did love to take things apart to see how they worked. “Dismembering watches” was a favorite pastime. He had no advanced degree, but he did attend night school to hone his skills. His mind was brilliant, and eventually he became a much-loved teacher of his craft. He attracted students who, like him, were enthusiasts. In the late hours of the night, they would volunteer their time to work on projects and learn in the process. His ability to attract talent and work with others was enviable. In his business, he surrounded himself with people who knew what he did not.
He succeeded at raising money from investors who believed in his product. The problem was that they didn’t always believe in his vision. He grew despondent because they only focused on money. At one point, he was fired from his own company, the company that bore his name. A lesser man would have called it quits and found a job.
Years earlier, he had given up a steady job with a prominent company. Entrepreneurship didn’t pay very well so his family moved countless times into ever more modest surroundings. Ironically, while still working his day job, inspiration came from his iconic employer,
a man he had idolized from childhood and had the honor to meet one day, just for a moment.
In a few quick strokes, he sketched his innovation. The man before him pounded his fist on the table and said, “Young man, that’s the thing. You have it. Keep at it.”
“That bang on the table was worth worlds to me,” the entrepreneur told his patient wife. “You won’t be seeing much of me for the next year.” In truth, success took more than a year. It took decades.
Answers rarely come through a eureka moment, and they didn’t for Henry Ford. He observed the world around him and slowly arrived at his opportunity and his purpose. He demonstrated that an entrepreneur need not be the inventor of a new technology. His wild success came through something more valuable—a brand. Custom-made cars, the standard of the time, didn’t align with Henry Ford’s view of the world. He wanted to give everyone a luxury only the rich could then afford.
He wanted to change the world and believed the secret was an automobile with a gas combustion engine, assembled in a factory,
where one car was the same as the next. His hero and famous employer, Thomas Edison, believed that too. That’s why he pounded his fist on the table, reinvigorating Henry and prompting him to keep going through many years and many failures.
Henry dared to dream big. One Sunday he heard his minister preach, “Hitch your wagon to a star,” and he told his sister, “That’s what I’m going to do.” That was in 1893. Ten years later, on July 23, 1903, Chicago dentist Dr. Ernst Pfenning bought Ford Motor Company’s very first Model A.
Henry Ford had done it. No longer a dreamer, he was an entrepreneur.”- Preface of the book “MIDAS TOUCH”