Although Ben Franklin lived a few years before the Web started, many of his observations can be applied to the Internet today. Here is an ”interview” with Franklin, using his own words.
Joel: Mr. Franklin, how can we help those who don’t seem to want to work hard and follow common sense when it comes to starting a Web business?
Ben: They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles.
Joel: Can one read a book and succeed in business?
Ben: Read much, but not many books.
Joel: Should a person mortgage their house if they think that they have a great business idea and go for it?
Ben: If you can’t pay for a thing, don’t buy it. If you can’t get paid for it, don’t sell it.
Joel: What about the speed that things are changing now, if that bad?
Ben: When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.
Joel: How do you know when you have a good idea in business?
Ben: If passion drives you, let reason hold the rein.
Joel: How much does luck have to play in business success?
Ben: Diligence is the mother of good luck.
Joel: What about those who are deceptive in business?
Ben: Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have
brains enough to be honest.
Joel: Should one go with the latest software, gimmick, or advice?
Ben: Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Joel: What about business failure? Many fear it.
Ben: The things which hurt, instruct.
Joel: How important is it to be rich?
Ben: Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.
Much of what Franklin said still applies to us today, on and off the Web.