ZDNET article on FIRST

Terrific article on FIRST and Dean that really speaks to the core of FIRST.

Summary: The Segway inventor talks about turning innovation into a competition and why failure is a critical part of the formula for success

Great article. I read it earlier and it was a really on-point description of FIRST.

I’m biased, but my favorite part was definitely that this author actually LISTENED when Dean talked about his family - something he does in most, if not all, interviews but is often skipped or overlooked.

Kamen credits his father for teaching him that making mistakes is simply part of the recipe for future success, especially when innovation is on the line.

“People are under enormous pressure, I think, to not fail,” he says. “Parents don’t want to see the pain of failure. The teachers punish you for failing. Your boss punishes you for failing. So people learn throughout their life gradually, to find all sorts of ways to not fail, which frankly is easy to do. But again, the unintended consequence of redefining success as lack of failure is that we quickly become so risk-averse and everything we do in life is only marginally better than what we did yesterday. Life is so short. We shouldn’t waste any of it trying to do anything marginal.”

What was the best advice you ever got?

It was from my father when I was a little kid. He said, ‘Find something you love to do and learn how to do it so well that you can make a living doing it, because if you don’t do that you’re going to have to make a living doing something you don’t like doing.’ … Then the follow-up to that was ‘Whatever you do as long as you continue to believe in it, don’t give up.’

This is was the advice my grandfather doled out to the whole family, and all four of the Kamen children brought themselves to success with it in their own right. (The grandkid’s still working on it.)