I confess I had never heard of Joseph Schumpeter until reading this brief synopsis of Stanford Professor Michael Dearing’s discussion of the five thought processes that he says are common among successful people. He talks about feelings of personal exceptionalism (a sense that the winner is special), dichotomous thinking (highly opinionated and seeing things in black and white), correct overgeneralization (often being right about your generalizations), seeing the world as a blank canvas (not beholden to the mistakes of the past) and “Schumpeterism.”
Which brings us to Joseph Schumpeter. Bear with me. He is a long-dead Austrian economist, best known for a book titled, “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy.” The book coined the term “creative destruction” and posited that Capitalism will eventually give way to a form of socialism in part because it doesn’t support the “wild spirits” that we now think of as entrepreneurs.
So what the heck does that have to do with me in a newsroom in Half Moon Bay? Schumpeterism suggests that the world is constantly changing and in order to be competitive in it we have to view creative destruction as the very core of what we do. …
It means we can’t continue to write 12-inch stories about a high school football game five days earlier when we know full well the players are posting photos of the game on Facebook an hour after it’s over. It means we can’t continue to think of information as a one-way street. It means we don’t dictate to readers any longer, but rather engage with them.
So Schumpeter is your word for the day. Here’s some Schumpeter trivia to help you remember him. He once said his goal was to be the world’s greatest economist, to be the finest horseman in all of Austria and to be the best lover in Vienna. He subsequently said he reached two of his goals, and while he wouldn’t say which two, he did note that there were a whole lot of good horsemen in Austria.
Now go innovate.