Innovation, Wu-Tang Style

Most business books are one idea expressed in hundreds of pages, and boring as hell. When Inc. Magazine asked me for an inspiring book for entrepreneurs (#23), I recommended the RZA's Wu-Tang Manual

There are a number of core lessons I have pulled from this book over the years:

First, follow your dreams - don't chase someone else's. Wu Tang could only have happened on Staten Island, just like Godzilla could only have appeared on a remote radioactive island in Japan, with room to stretch out and grow. No distractions, no envy. Be like ODB: There's no father to his style.

Second, location matters. In an era when everyone uproots themselves to chase careers and dollars, the Wu represented Shaolin (Staten Island) with a pride of people and place, and a commitment to draw from and build on what's strategic around you.

Third, build a platform of success for others as your legacy. There have always been great rap duos (EPMD, Eric B. & Rakim, Run-D.M.C., and more), but Wu Tang was the first rap dynasty. While many companies claim to be a great place to work, we want Duo to be a great company to have been from, and we support our colleagues in their success at and beyond our company.

Fourth, a team needs shared values and cultural contribution, not "cultural fit". From Kung Fu and Bushido, to Nietzsche and Lao Tzu, the Wu drank deep from the well of history to draw wisdom from both the profound and the profane.

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