Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Foggy Lens of History

Appreciating the limitations of our historic understanding while researching the work of start.

National Monument to the Forefathers

History is opaque. You see what comes out, not the script that produces events, the generator of history. - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

What we know, the group we now refer to as the Mayflower Pilgrims landed in what would become Provincetown, Massachusetts (please see Looking at a Historic View) in 1620. After exploring Cape Cod the pilgrims eventually sailed to what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts where they formed the Plymouth Colony. These historic events have been curated through firsthand accounts such as William Bradford’s book Of Plymouth Plantation, and have been commemorated in monuments such as Plymouth Rock and the Monument to the Forefathers (shown above). In a very similar way to my current research on the work of start, our historic understanding of the Mayflower Pilgrims is based on a timeline of events and the stories of individuals who participated. Likewise, each Work of Start founder interview tries to capture the perspective of a person with an intimate understanding of what it takes to create something with impact. The hope is this research can provide some understanding of the methodology an innovator used to create something important, but we also have to understand that the “…script that produces events…” can never fully be understood.

Jason Freeman is the founder of Work of Start.

Notes:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (New York: Random House, 2007), 8.