The Summer Solstice occurred this week, marking the longest (and, for many, the hottest) day of the year and the official start of summer. Ironically, on this day (June 22) in 1633, The Roman Inquisition forced Galileo Galilei to recant his belief in heliocentrism (that the Earth revolves around the Sun) and sentenced him to house arrest, under which he remained for the rest of his life. It wasn't until 1992 that The Catholic Church, the primary force behind The Inquisition, acknowledged its error.
The lesson for today's innovator is that doubters will doubt and haters will hate. Disruptive technologies are often met with resistance, disbelief and friction. However, the market decides whether or not an entrepreneur has something it can support—although thankfully, in today's rapid feedback loop, the market won't take, oh, 359 years to respond.
On a lighter note, as the unofficial position of the church eased toward Galileo's beliefs and accomplishments, his body was moved from its original (subdued) burial site in 1737 to a memorial site. During the move, the middle finger of Galileo's right hand was removed. The finger is now on display at the Museo Galileo in Florence, proving that, even in death, it is possible to have the last word.
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Robert Hatta is Vice President of Entrepreneurial Talent and assists JumpStart client and portfolio companies in their efforts to recruit and retain entrepreneurial talent at all levels.