Andy Oram
19 June 2000

The first entrepreneur was Eve. A risk-taker, an information-gatherer, a leader of men (or at least one man), a woman who took control of her destiny, Eve represents a wonderful model for our dynamic age.

Eve weighed the risks and rewards of her actions, and made the best decisions she could on the basis of available information. On the one hand, she heard that one would die if “one ate from, or even touched” the Tree of Knowledge. This garbled version was presumably told to her by Adam, because she was not present when God laid down the original prohibition. On the other hand, the snake told her (truthfully) that the fruit would open her eyes and she would become like a god. She looked at the relative merits of both positions and took a leap into the unknown.

Though a great creative personality, Eve had to live with imperfect circumstances. First of all, her trusted advisor was a snake. Adam, her other source of information, proved to be not much better. But the ultimate responsibility for her misguided act must be laid on God, who apparently did not respect his second human creation enough to expect that she would be so independent-minded. If God’s warning had been literally true—if she were to die the very day she ate the fruit—she probably wouldn’t have had time to give it to Adam, would she? From Eve, therefore, modern entrepreneurs can learn crucial lessons: you need staff you can rely on, all the information that you can get from your environment, a back-up plan in case your attempts go haywire, and most of all some degree of buy-in from whoever is ultimately in charge.

Actually, I think God knew what he was doing, which is a fair bet considering he’s both omniscient and omnipotent. I think he wanted to put humans out in test conditions with carefully chosen parameters, to see how much initiative they showed. It was Eve who made it possible for us to live, who started us on the long path to what could be a rich and fulfilling existence—and who bequeathed us the knowledge that, if we choose, we can use to reach that goal.

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