Innovating Through Artistry

Building a Blue Bike Isn’t Easy

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on September 29, 2007 at 4:21 am

The last few weeks have offered me a few personal challenges.

As someone not at all mechanically inclined, I have been greatly challenged learning how to incorporate building, on stage during my keynote presentation, an old blue Hollywood Schwinn bike.

I found Miya LeBleu’s bike at the Antioch Bike Shop on Main Street, in downtown Antioch, Illinois, on my very first try looking for a blue bike with a single gear, for my presentation. I felt as though it was sitting there for the last twenty-or-so years, in that bike shop, waiting for me to come and buy it. (Actually, the bike was not for sale. This bike shop happens, coincidentally, to be the closest to our house on the lake, and just happens to be a 3rd generation Schwinn dealer. It took a bit of persuasion to convince the bike shop why I had to have that particular bike and why they needed to sell it to me!)

Besides the actual assembly of it, which is challenging enough for me, I have worked to find the right ways to use this old blue Schwinn as the metaphor it is–a working symbol of entrepreneurship– into my presentation on creative value. (Miya LeBleu would be proud.)

I have been video taping my practice sessions in my garage for 2 weeks now. My newly expanded presentation, now up from 25 to 45 minutes, has tremendously improved– though I still cringe watching how I sometimes fumble with all the unknown surprises I still encounter, routinely, with the bike’s assembly.

But fumbling with the bike and my own discomfort through the process, offers so many true comparisons to entrepreneurship that my torment with building it feels purposeful and worthwhile. After all, entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but it sure is worth trying to build something that you passionately believe in.

At the end of each practice session, when I finally have the bike all together, I truly feel accomplished riding my blue Hollywood Schwinn, which started off as a pile of parts, off the stage at the end of my presentation.

I am on my own blue bike building adventure. I hope you will join me.

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