The desire for economic freedom and autonomy drives many entrepreneurs. Bootstrappers would rather work for customers than investors, choosing the discipline of the competitive marketplace over the wisdom and caprice of the boardroom.

“Life is too short to work at a job you hate,
but everyone has to do something someone else is willing to pay them for.”
Sid Emmert

William Stafford’s “Freedom”

                 Freedom is not following a river.
                 Freedom is following a river
                      though, if you want to.

                 It is deciding now by what happens now.
                 It is knowing that luck makes a difference.

                 No leader is free; no follower is free--
                      the rest of us can often be free.
                 Most of the world are living by 
                 creeds too odd, chancy, and habit-forming
                      to be worth arguing about by reason.

                 If you are oppressed, wake up about
                 four in the morning; most places
                 you can usually be free some of the time
                      if you wake up before other people.

                                            William Stafford “Freedom”

Successful entrepreneurs understand that the key to sustaining a startup is finding the right quid pro quo for creating value for their customers. They remember that customer needs–and tastes–change, the competition adjusts, new entrants alter the status quo, and getting up early can make a difference.

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Smith: What do you see in your future?
Stafford: We’ll go back West and I’ll keep on writing poems. I keep following this sort of hidden river of my life, you know, whatever the topic or impulse which comes, I follow it along trustingly. And I don’t have any sense of its coming to a kind of crescendo, or of its petering out either. It is just going steadily along. So I inhale and exhale. I experience, write poems, get now and then great feelings of being on the edge of writing something that reverberates through my own self and that’s very interesting. But I don’t have any big or sustained project or any ending revelation that I can tell you about.