Loudoun Valley High School
Third Place Winner, Virginia
Dear Sir Dr. Dre,
The world is a strange place to watch. If parting the physical limitations of our minds has taught me anything, it is that. However, I do find the strange way time bends quite advantageous for the amount of thinking I wish to accomplish. That being said, I have taken a new fancy to pondering the ways of an entrepreneur, and I do believe I have an understanding of the most effective and vital qualities for those people such as me and yourself. So here is what I will say: despite our similar entrepreneurial dedication, our innovation, motivation, and ingenuity sets us apart.
I’ll grant it to you, Dr. Dre, you have good ideas, brilliant even- but I, George Washington, have a truly superior sense of innovation. I embody efficiency, creativity; I am what you could call- a risk-taker. While every other farmer was growing multitudes of tobacco, I nurtured bushels of wheat, marketed them overseas (Mochari). My whiskey distillery proved to be one of my most “profitable enterprises,” and the largest whiskey distillery in all of America at that time (“Distillery”). I experimented and exercised my own solutions, testing over 60 different crops, risking failure with every step (Crabtree). Now, on the other hand, you have proved yourself adept at reading the people, knowing what they want, and how you’re going to give it to them to see success and a profit. Not only that, but you boosted the market for really “top-notch cans” (“The sound of music; designer headphones”). This product must be wildly popular. I see young person after young person…. rocking out? Every day. Evermore, a sir Peter Csathy went as far as to proclaim his reflection of the product as a “lifestyle” (Ellis-Petersen). You have, in your accomplishments, made it undoubtedly clear that you know the public, and that you possess a genuine knack for innovation. But I stand by what I said earlier, this genius I possess can simply not be bested. The breadth and depth of my entrepreneurial success is fueled by my innovation.
I honestly believe there is a spark in every person, something that ignites their beliefs and the way they spend their life. When I meet an individual, I am always able to distinguish their defining quality, their key to the door of success. Your key, it is doubtless to say, is motivation. Being born by a mother of sixteen does not usually lead to a stable life, at least not in this day and age. You established the life you have today without the wise and motherly guidance every young soul deserves. Furthermore, you dropped out of school, a mere fledgling undertaking the world’s challenges. All this to pursue your passion- what a tremendous risk that I will forever respect (Ellis-Petersen). And after all that, with a self-built success and a few “platinum records” to hang on your wall, you took your experience, your legacy, and used it to the benefit of others. These rappers with elaborate names like “Snoop Doggy Dog” owe the “launching” of their careers to you (Ellis-Petersen). I feel my dear Martha’s words say it best, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances” (goodreads.com). With all of this said, I believe I have made my point quite clear that motivation and drive fuel your success. However, I will not sit idly by without advocating for my own motives and the impetus for our nation’s strong economy. As I have said many times, “Building the national prosperity is my first and my only aim.” (Mochari). I have always thought of myself as more of an entrepreneur than as a politician (Mochari). It just so happens that the mindset I possess would be the very reason for the prosperity of the American economy. With the help of Alexander Hamilton, I liquidated the massive amount of debt our newborn country owed to France as a result of the Revolution. In point of fact, we eliminated “trillions of dollars” owed and managed to build up and fortify the nation’s credit (Mochari). However, as I said, farming and entrepreneurship are my focus and my passion. Attempting advanced or unusual agricultural ideas and techniques, and building off of other brilliant farmers suited my fancy much more than giving speeches (Lengel 151). However strongly I feel though, I have to acknowledge the sizable differences between our “rhymes and reasons,” and our motivation in general. This subject is the one in which you most earned my respect, so I will “hand it to you,” motivation is a matter where your story and mine are just about equal.
With years comes wisdom, every day brings something new and distinctive into your life. But however much you are able to learn does not match what you are born with. This is to say, our deciding factor here will be the ingenuity we possess, that we have always possessed since the first intake of oxygen into our lungs. Let us start with examining your life, your choices, and how you used your ingenuity to change the world in which you live. You dropped out of school, taking a risk to shape your own life (Ellis-Peteresen). Unlike most young adolescents, you decided there was a better way to live, if one was only willing to search for it. Now, let us “fast forward”, shall we? Because of your willingness to stray outside the norm, you were able to pursue a career as a “DJ,” “rapper,” and eventually become “the world’s most influential hip-hop producer” (Ellis-Petersen). You marketed a new and unique product, taking what you knew about the public and targeting a younger audience who would surely give you the ideal response and the most profit (“The sound of music”). You changed, and altered, and expanded the likes of your product to suit the people’s wants (Ellis-Petersen). On top of everything else, you used celebrity endorsements, something quite new to me (“The sound of music”). By exhibiting the endorsements of Serena Williams, Kendall Jenner, and Big Sean, you gave off an aroma of “cool beans” and style (Colt). Compared to some, even most, you would come out superior in a game of ingenuity, but I assure you, Dre, I am not most. This is the nation where you declare your freedom every day by making your own choices. By making the choice to drop out of school, by making the choice to lead the country to independence. The choices I made and the risks that I took while running my own plantation were carefully calculated. By growing wheat instead of tobacco, I placed myself where no one else stood, “transforming my estate into a regional center of production” (Mochari). The world around me was fascinating, every breath brought a new thought and every minute brought effort and work to be done. I was nothing if not dedicated, putting my ideas into action to see wonderful results that your generation cherishes today. I assure you, without the national banks, you would never be able to “make it rain” (Mochari). What’s more, my fiscal policies “created a form of national unity” (Mochari). Trade is almost a magic- in that people, a species prone to battling and bickering, can develop a peace if only willing to work together and embrace their similarities. That is entrepreneurial knowledge and ingenuity put to an exceptional cause. After stepping down as America’s first president, I called for the “establishment of a National Board of Agriculture” (Crabtree). 66 years later, the Department of Agriculture was created, leaving me a legacy, something to “outlive me when I’m gone”, as Lin Manuel Miranda has put it in Hamilton (Crabtree). You have proven yourself a worthy opponent, but when it comes to ingenuity, I possess a virtue that is second to none.
There is a vision, a vision for my farm, a vision for this country, a vision for the success of people like yourself, but mostly, there is a vision of what is yet to come. I hold no doubt I have made mistakes during my time in this ever changing world, but I do believe these characteristics are ones that I possess. Innovation- the delicate principle that ideas can be the dawning of a new era. Risks, whether planting wheat, or striking war with a country of overwhelmingly preeminent power, go hand-in-hand with innovation. Motivation is the lifeblood of an entrepreneur. Like many Washingtons before me, I am hungry for ideas. Lastly, ingenuity. This is simply necessary. Necessary in the understanding of your own vision, and what you’re willing to sacrifice to see it through.
Innovation, motivation, and ingenuity. I truly believe that these are things I embodied during my days walking on the expanding American frontier. Things that make me a great entrepreneur. Things that will forever fuel my drive forward. Things vital to the new generations of leaders.
Colt, Sam. "Celebrities Show Off Their Beats In Apple's New Ad." Business Insider. Business Insider, 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Crabtree, Susan. "Washington's land legacy." Insight on the News, 10 Feb. 1997, p. 42. General OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&sw=w&u=lcpsh&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA19092312 &it=r&asid=4083e0f991276ea375be115b0c4103d2. Accessed 22 Nov. 2016.
"Distillery." George Washington's Mount Vernon. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
Ellis-Petersen, Hannah. "Dr Dre: Hip Hop's Entrepreneur Is Still Running the Game."The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 29 May 2014. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.
"George Washington's 5 Lessons of Entrepreneurship." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
Lengel, Edward G. First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His--and the Nation's--prosperity. Boston, MA: Da Capo, a Member of the Perseus Group, 2016. Print.
"Martha Washington Quotes (Author of Martha Washington's Booke Of Cookery).
"Martha Washington Quotes (Author of Martha Washington's Booke Of Cookery). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2017.
Mochari, Ilan. "5 Surprising Business Lessons From This Entrepreneur-Turned-U.S. President." Inc.com. N.p., 02 May 2016. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.
"The sound of music; Designer headphones." The Economist, 24 Aug. 2013, p. 61(US). General OneFile, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=ITOF&sw=w&u=lcpsh&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA340413739&it=r&asid=29ff28143454bc469c311af24eb4be7c. Accessed 22 Nov. 2016.