Yesterday I visited the Da Vinci Exhibit at the Metreon in San Francisco. To my eye, it is a stunning show, with numerous models — some working — of mechanisms Da Vinci imagined and drew in his notebooks in the early 16th Century. It is remarkable to see how richly productive the man was, and how prescient about so many later century inventions.
The exhibit also includes text, video and reproductions of Da Vinci’s drawings and paintings. One particular quote from Da Vinci really struck me.
There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when shown. And those who don’t see.
I’m fairly confident that Da Vinci meant, by “those who see”, people recognizing how things could work — visionaries, since “see” and “vision” are related. I believe this quote can also apply to people who attempt to start a business. Those who see are often the founders/chief technologists in the tech world. Those who see when shown are the investors who back the visionaries. Or they could be the entrepreneurs who recognize a good opportunity and create a “me too” business that is often very successful, especially if it is an early follow-on. And those who don’t see maybe misunderstand the opportunity, or see it after the market is saturated, and they are the ones whose businesses don’t succeed. What do you think?