images-1This month WeFestival’s theme is Learn on Medium.  Here are my thoughts on Learn.

I have always believed that learning and curiosity goes hand in hand.  The strong desire to learn something comes from being inquisitive.  Entrepreneurs who are starting companies tend to have a yearning for knowledge that pairs with an underlying craving to create businesses that they believe are solutions to problems they have uncovered.  

That strong desire to always be learning is something that I have always been drawn to.  It is one of the reasons I am a strong believer in progressive education.  Progressive education values experience over the memorization of facts.  The pedagogical philosophy is about hands-on learning through collaborative environments.  This teaches a love of learning through constant problem solving and discovery.  There is always more to be learned.

The dots of learning always connect.  Entrepreneurs are critical thinkers about their businesses.  They continue to try new ways to achieve the goals that they have set forth and then push a little more.  What works today might not work tomorrow.  You can bring the knowledge from one business to another but the landscape changes.  That is what makes building companies so exciting.  

I am not so sure that curiosity killed the cat.  

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jenna Abdou

    I am so excited about this theme, Joanne. Would love to see you write about some of the lessons that you have learned!

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    It’s funny, learning is the bedrock of my life. It’s where I turn for comfort, excitement, security, adventure, survival, joy. But I didn’t get that love of learning from school. I was given and had access to an endless supply of books as a kid to learn anything I could desire. I learned to draw. I learned about space and the space program. I learned about film making. I taught myself how to cheerlead from a book and finally make the cheerleading squad!I see my kids now, and they’re exactly the same. School is something to endure. The internet is where they learn how to do things they want to do and to get info about things that interest them. They are learning 100x what I was able to at their age. Amazing times.

  3. denmeade

    A colleague asked me the other day how he could teach his team to be more curious. I’ve always had a habit of sending people links.. or articles cut out of actual newspapers & magazines back in pre-internet times. We had a general conversation about leading by example, rewarding the kinds of behaviour you wanted to see etc. But I didn’t have a good answer. I’ve worked in a number of places over the years that’ve tried different approaches with limited success. Hiring curious people seems like a better place to start!

    1. Gotham Gal

      not sure you can teach curiosity.

      1. awaldstein

        The rub is that if you are not flexible and curious you or your company will fail.Almost nothing we do today or the jobs we hire for will be the same in process a year from today.Without creativity and flexibility you are lost the day you start.

        1. Gotham Gal


  4. Chimpwithcans

    Great post. I think about this a lot, in particular because I am married to someone who believes in the complete opposite – she is not particularly curious, and she learns by memorizing facts for certification purposes. The issue is that she is an incredibly successful entrepreneur with a consultancy specializing in procurement products. She is an accountant with a CFA. She confounds my belief in curiosity, learning and its links to success in entrepreneurship. I still believe but she challenges me every day in this belief.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it works differently for everyone.

      1. Chimpwithcans

        Agree, I think also there is “entrepreneurship” of varying sorts. Hers is fitting in with the old industrial model of pre internet days, servicing the big corporates…and she succeeds largely down to incredible hustle, rather than innovation. I am creating a different type of company which is more digital, software and creative focused. Mine requires more curiosity.