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Julius Caesar, on turning problems into opportunities

June 16, 2018

 

When he was 25, Julius Caesar, a relatively unknown politician at the time, was captured by Sicilian pirates. This wasn’t uncommon in the Mediterranean sea at the time, and the pirates said they'd free him up for a ransom of 20 talents of silver (that’s about half a million USD of today’s money in case you are wondering).

But Caesar was no ordinary man. He saw this as an opportunity, and laughed at the pirates that this was too cheap for a man like him, and told them they should ask for 5 times more at least.

And in Rome, the news was startling: No one was ever ransomed for such a large amount before. Caesar must be of extraordinary value for the Sicilians to ask for so much money. Ceasar’s friends rallied support, gathered the 100 talents, and paid the Pirates. Back in Rome, Ceasar quickly raised an armed fleet and went straight back to the island, where he killed his captors to bring back the ransom and pay it back. And from this point, his legend started to grow.

Most of you on Founders Basecamp are busy building a venture project. Can you identify the hardest problem you’re facing, and start thinking again about how you could turn it into an opportunity? 

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