Inching toward success

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor

Our brand new year is already into its second month. So chances are fairly good you have been exposed to more than a few suggestions from the success gurus.

Some crystal ball gazers might have recommended that you affiliate more closely with local hospitals. A few may have chimed in that your hospice and home care connections need to be cinched up. An expert or two may have insisted that you focus on the one thing you're best at. Still others may have advised you to blow everything up and start over. 

Who's right? I have no earthly idea.

What I do know is that predicting the future can be a tricky business. And while I can't point you toward a no-fail strategy, I can recommend that you learn from a man who's made a tidy living from seeing things first: Jim Clark.

It's very possible you may not be familiar with Clark. But it's a safe bet that he has helped change the way you live at home and on the job.

Clark is what might loosely be called an entrepreneur. He was the driving force behind three multibillion-dollar firms in Silicon Valley: Silicon Graphics, Netscape — which launched the information age — and Healtheon (the last of which was eventually merged with WebMD).

Clark has always had a knack for seeing what's coming before others do, especially when there's a profit motive involved. But here's the rub: At heart, he's really an anarchist. By his own admission, he doesn't do well when it comes to hanging around the firms he helps create.

In his book, “The New New Thing,” author Michael Lewis describes well what a complete pain Clark could be. Lewis also does a nice job of profiling the type of human who helps unlock the future: 

“The person who makes his living searching for the new new thing … needs to keep groping. He chooses to live perpetually with that sweet tingling discomfort of not quite knowing what it is he wants to say. It's one of the little ironies of economic progress that, while it often results in greater levels of comfort, it depends on people who prefer not to get too comfortable.”

So here's to a year of uncomfortably crawling to the future.