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Stormannsgalskap: The Madness of Great Men

Lee Hower
August 2, 2011 · 1  min.

Reading Time: 1 minute

I was reading a column in the Economist the other day in which I learned a new word… stormannsgalskap.  It’s Norweigan.  I don’t know a lick of Norweigan but my understanding is that it roughly translates to “the madness of great men” [or women].

I thought this was an incredibly apt depiction of great entrepreneurs and innovators.  As the Economist rightly points out, reshaping an industry requires suspending disbelief and extraordinary self-confidence which can border on psychological aberration.  

Or as my friend and mentor Reid Hoffman says being a founder is like throwing yourself off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.  What person in their right mind does that?  Well perhaps the most disuptive entrepreneurs are a little out of their mind… in a good way.  Think Steve Jobs or Henry Ford or Howard Schultz.


Lee Hower
Lee is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage software and internet startups.