5 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Neil Armstrong's Legacy

Aug 29, 2012
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Here at RudeBaguette, what drives staff columnists and subscribers alike is the shared glory and dream of entrepreneurship. Whether you’ve launched a brick-and-mortar startup or mobile app, the conception of an idea is a miraculous one. Nearly three decades ago, a man exited a spacecraft and planted both his feet on the surface of the moon, an event according to some viewers appeared like a staged Hollywood hoax. Neil Armstrong’s passing on August 25, 2012, reminded us all of the legacy he left behind. Below are a few things entrepreneurs can take from his legacy:

1. Do something bigger than yourself, now: Neil Armstrong may not have left a diary for us to peruse revealing his adoration of all things aeronautical. Adventure-seeking or not, Armstrong wanted an office with a view, thousands of miles in the sky. He began in what was a challenging career of dodging missiles and doing photo reconnaissance in combat zones. Landing on the moon wasn’t a logical next step suggested to him on his LinkedIn profile, it was something he had prepared for all his life.

2. Handle the pressure: Armstrong could lead a team of astronauts because he first knew how to safely land a F9F Panther after an air-strike. His Korean War resume and rapid response skills were critical during the landing when Houston warned there were only 30 seconds to land. That update indicated the amount of fuel necessary before aborting the mission. Meanwhile I’d have to take a Xanax to drive across the Champs Elysées.

3. Partner-up with people you trust: Neil Armstrong’s team undoubtedly had to undergo vast amounts of preparation and training even before becoming “candidates” for the Apollo 11 mission. A faith in each other as much as in the command control center in Houston united the team to deliver the words, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

4. Stay humble: Armstrong’s recognition is unparalalled with the ‘achievements’ of our day. His stage was the moon, his audience, the earth. No tweet, YouTube video, or Reddit article will receive that same type of awe-inspired global viewership. Despite the mission’s success, it didn’t seem to rub off on the pilot. He passed away on August 25, 2012 with no memoir, press tours, or a hometown parade. He even refused to sign his autograph to fans after hearing reports of forgery.

5. Never stop learning: Neil Armstrong earned his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University in Aeronautical Engineering thanks to his Navy Aviation scholarship. Later he earned a masters at the University of Southern California. He taught for 8 years at the University of Cincinnati, and for 17 he worked alongside engineers at NASA. His accomplishments were greater still on planet earth than they were reaching uncharted territory on our lovely glowing satellite, the moon.

For Armstrong a formidable giant was ‘Newtonian Physics’ but remember that even in the tech community we oftentimes meet up against ‘criticism’, ‘self-doubt’, and ‘failure-freeze.’  While these giants may not feel as heavy as gravity, no one can ever take away your spirit of innovation.