Addressing last year’s graduating class at Occidental College, the founder of Motown Records recalled how he’d fully intended to become the best songwriter ever. He never had any doubts.
Eventually, Gordy came around to acknowledging what friends and family members had been telling him: He needed a paying job, a “real one.” He took a job on the Ford assembly line in Detroit.
Then that creative experience paid off. Day after day, as he ran up and down the assembly line, Gordy watched autoworkers transform bare metal frames into gleaming cars. It occurred to him that maybe the same thing could happen with people. He could try to create a music factory where young people started out as unknowns and were turned out as stars.
That thought became the industry known as Motown.
Lesson: Don’t ignore insights that seem strange because they cross boundaries.
—Adapted from “With Iraq War as a Backdrop, Speakers Reflect on the Future,” Alan Finder, The New York Times.