It Pays To Be First


Have you ever heard of Bert Hinkler? I didn’t think so.

He is a famous Australian aviator who made history. In 1931, Hinkler achieved the amazing by flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. At the time, this was a huge accomplishment, so it’s surprising that so few people recognize the name.

But then, Hinkler was the second person to accomplish this feat. The first was a guy named Charles Lindbergh, who flew the Atlantic solo in 1927. I’ll bet you’ve heard of him.

Lindbergh parlayed his fame into all kinds of opportunity. Later in life he became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist.

Hinkler, not so much.

I’m currently reading Joseph Ellis’ great biography on George Washington titled, His Excellency. It seems everyone knows that Washington was the first President of the United States.

Yet, I’ll bet you can’t name the fifth President. Or the sixth. Or the seventh.

I often speak at conventions among a cavalcade of talented speakers. I like to go first because the opening speaker sets the tone and is often referenced and quoted by the other speakers.

Finally, there’s the contemporary story of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Surely, you’ve heard of these guys! The Winklevoss twins may have come up with the most important communication revolution since the invention of e-mail. They say they invented Facebook.

It would be reasonable for you to think Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, since he’s the CEO and the movie, The Social Network, just made him even more famous.

The Winklevoss twins claim that Zuckerberg stole the idea from them when the three of them were attending Harvard. Zuckerberg has not admitted to stealing anything or being second, but the Winklevoss brothers were awarded $65 million.

It pays to be first.

By the way, the fifth, sixth, and seventh Presidents of the United States were James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson, respectively.

Be the first to tell your friends.