History is Written by the Victors. Well, Not Really.

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People often say “history is written by the victors.”

My friend made an offhand comment the other day. In a joking tone he said “yeah, yah know history is written by the victors” but what he meant was “isn’t it a shame that those other guys are telling the story…”‘

That didn’t work for me. The way he used it– it assumed that the people who put the energy in to telling the story had some sort of special privilege.

Who was telling the stories? Those in control. Those in power.

What if instead we thought:

History is written by people who take the time to write the history. 

It’s banality is charming.

I am dissatisfied, as are many of my entrepreneurial colleagues, with how entrepreneurship is often framed up in the blogosphere. Unfortunately for the blog readers who would benefit from the stories that haven’t yet been told, it’s difficult, scary, and expensive to preach what you practice.

Most business owners won’t invest in telling the story (the guys at 37 signals are a delightful exception). Instead, they say “it’s a shame those other guys are telling the story…” 

A few years ago when I was living in Vietnam and buzzing about all the opportunities I saw, I told a more experienced entrepreneur that I was thinking about writing a book about my travels and my business ideas.

He laughed at me and told me to make a bunch of money first… “then you’d have something to write about.”

I shelved the book plans.

I haven’t heard from that guy in years. He might lounging on piles of money. He might be part of a movement. But we won’t hear about it because he won’t take the time to tell it– and worse– he thinks it’s lame to do so. I suppose I could find out what he’s up to.  I’m sure he’s got LinkedIn… or Facebook.



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