The “Wilder Gene” of Successful Entrepreneurs.

My friend Neal photoshopped my face on Wonka’s

My best friend, whom is my father, and I just got off the phone after 1 of our typical catch up talks. As a 31 year old son of my father, Dan, I really take a lot of joy from our talks. We don’t talk like most fathers/sons talk in my opinion. We talk about ideas, businesses, our careers and our hobbies. You might say, “Well so do I, Wade.” However, we don’t just talk about them at surface level. We get into great depth of their innerworkings. We conjure up logical answers to granualar items within a broader topic, and we are always in a hybrid mixture of imagination and logicical brainstorms.

A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men. — Willy Wonka

My Pops and I have always shared an interest in how things work and why they work. Why are things accepted in society and why did they come to be and come to stay? This evening, I came upon a revelation when I was listening to him talk about fishing, a common interest we share and 1 of his greatest passions. This evenings’ talk hit me differently than any other we’ve shared. I noticed something huge that I hadn’t noticed in the plethora of fishing chats we’ve had. My father talks about fishing like I talk about businesses and mobile-app building; with incredible motivation, depth, education, and exploration. We also talk about stocks, economy, politics, and inventions the same way too. We talk about them in deep strategic styles. As if we are staring down from above at a war, and understanding why a battle within it has won or lost so we can learn from what is happening and adjust. This is what makes our talks so unique. We are consistently brainstorming actively together and it’s not a collection of stories being passed back and forth. We ask for more detail from eachother and it’s more about putting all the cards on the table collectively instead of attempting to sway eachother with points and counterpoints. The result of this open communication is that we have meaningful conversation that changes our perceptions on the fly and makes us take action when the conversation ends.

Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple. — Willy Wonka

My Dad is an excellent fisherman. But, how is that statement proven? My Dad has been competing in bass fishing tournaments on lakes, rivers, and streams for years as a hobby much like someone who plays on a intramural basketball league or after-work kickball league. But, I believe there is a common trait successful entrepreneurs have within them that they take advantage of and it’s a traits that spawns a desire to be the best and choose to learn more on the topic and make adjustments to try and be better than those who also participate in the same thing.

Dad and I fishing way back in the day!

It’s simply not enough to just perform the action. The successful person plays another game at the same time. They “re-craft their craft”. They look at the activity from above and manipulate it to gain a unique edge/strategy than the rest who share the same interest.

Fishing isn’t just “fishing” to my father. Fishing is what he wants to always be better at to the point where he speaks on fishing in an analytical, almost scientific processed way. He makes hypothesis and experiments with them to gain data and draw conclusions. Then he does it again based on his new information, over and over, and builds his own strategy to work with based on outcomes and data. It’s not enough to just cast the fishing bait on a lake and hope to catch a fish. He wants to know why the Bass bites 1 type of bait more than another and why a certain shape of hook succeeds at bringing the fish all the way to the boat more than another and why these tools have different success rates in cloudy versus sunny conditions, water depth and temperature at various times in a fishes spawning cycle through the year. He wants to know if there’s more success in catching Bass in faster water or perhaps areas where new vegetation has taken over the water. My dad is always honing his craft so he’s most informed for all the decisions that can be made in all the conditions that can be experienced. It’s like a fishing version of Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War.” and with that, I will say he tends to be in the top 3 places more than not nowadays and that’s my point of this! This is the reason why he ranks higher when he’s placed on a bell curve amongst all Bass fisherman in the world.

This is the trait; the “gene” I speak of that also plays nicely with Gene Wilder’s famous fictional character, Willy Wonka. Wonka’s success stemmed from being the best and learning by experimentation and discovery in the same way as my Dad, the fisherman, does. It is why they gained mastery in their art and increased happiness and fulfillment in their lives.


I don’t think my dad would call himself an “entrepreneur”. When it comes to his various daily jobs he’s held, he seems to be more comfortable working for others. My thought is that he likes to be valued at his job while not taking on the stressors that come with business ownership. However, when it comes to fishing or trading in the stock market, he likes knowing it’s him that dicates his level of success and therefore he works on his own, honing the crafts. This is not a bad thing at all but it is what would potentially remove him from the “Entrepreneur” title by societies definition. But, the same gene he has that produces a passion for fishing is the very same 1 that spawns a successful entrepreneur. It’s not about just doing something for yourself and for your happiness. It’s about knowing how you can be the best at something for yourself in the process and enjoying the process of exploration into your interest through experimentation and execution. Those who follow a similar understanding of this are the innovators we have on this planet. These are the tastemakers, dreamers, and problem solvers. This is the gene I want to bring to attention in others out in the world.

Dad in his element

My Father is my best friend because we can talk openly about our interests and it’s from those talks that I take continual deeper steps into my passions. This is how I gain a more happy, self-fulfilling life. He actively participates in these talks and enjoys that I enjoy the process of being better at something too. We have the entrepreneur gene and it’s why if we continue to express it and let it guide our interests, and for this, we will always be consistently happy in life.

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