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Lessons learned from Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition:

Lessons learned from Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition:

Today marks the 105thAnniversary of the first expedition to reach the South Pole (Thank you Google Doodles for always keeping us in the loop), a race between the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and the British Robert Falcon Scott.

Well as you know, we are experts here at FACE at drawing lessons from pretty much everything, and this great expeditions reminded us of a few lessons and tips to always keep on your entrepreneurial minds:


1. Innovation, key to success: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! One of the main reasonsAmundsen got to the South Pole and back is because he made the bold decision to use dogs instead of horse, competitor Scott was not so lucky, it took him 35 days more than Amundsen’s expedition and never made it back.  

TIP: find out what your competitors are doing and see where they are behind or lacking and innovate, sometimes it’s in the details.  For example, dogs regulate better their body temperature, while horse sweat and their sweat freezes.  Horses require more food, which they have to carry in heavy bags that can break the ice, while dogs are lighter. 

2. Preparation is key:  Amundsen expedition and team where better prepared, had better equipment, had great team members, previous training, and everything rationed out.  His trip was more efficient and didn’t face and major setbacks.  Amundsen was also an experiencedexplorer with great survival skills. On the other hand, Scott’s team had many internal issues and discussions and where less prepared.

TIP: As we have repeated several times your team is one of your main assets, take time to build it right.  You can’t know it all, so focus on what you do best and bring in other profiles that complement yours. 

3. Don’t be afraid to set your own path:  Scott, decided to follow  Ernest Shackleton route to what was at that time the farthest point reached.  Amundsen however decided to createhisownroute.

TIP:More often than not as an entrepreneur you receive a lot of advice and tips (this post for examples) and read many success stories of other entrepreneurs.  It’s important to decide and know what is applicable to you.  The world is ever changing and it clear that what worked 10 years ago might not work now, even what worked 1 year ago might not be the best solution anymore.  Don’t be afraid to define your own path just keep in mind the lean startup method: Build- Measure- Learn.

4. Be ready to make tough calls: Amundsen sacrificed several dogs to be able to ensure more meat for the expedition as well as having more food for the other dogs to ensure they could get back to the base camp.  It’s not a pretty story, but at least they all made it back.

TIP: Sometimes you have to make tough calls, it’s important to keep in mind the big pictures and ultimate goals of your projects.  These decisions can be the difference between success and failure.

Hopefully Amundsen story has motivated you to keep on track on your own entrepreneurial expedition!


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