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  • Writer's pictureDominique Young

There's gold in them there hills

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

**In honor of April Fool's Day, this post is dedicated to fool's gold.**

In the 1840s, Americans rushed to the area now known as California in search of gold. They risked life, limb, and livestock in hopes that they would strike it rich with gold mining. In the early 1900s, motion picture companies moved out to California to evade motion picture patent enforcement. This was where what we now know as Hollywood came into being. Today, tech companies are amassed in Silicon Valley, CA.

Today, I learned that there is actual worth in fool's gold, or pyrite, as it is also called. During the Gold Rush, inexperienced miners would claim to strike it rich, only to find that their "gold" was worthless. Today, years later, there is scientific proof that pyrite actually contains small amounts of real gold; it's just very difficult to extract. The same can be said about small business development.

Starting your own business or investing in one can be like the miner searching for gold, the starlet working for their Golden Globe, or the research tech company looking to strike it rich with their next big idea. Many people are duped. Investors more so than any. There is a never ending list of people who have had their whole financial lives taken with the promise of getting rich quick. Goodness, the Securities and Exchange Commission was founded 88 years ago during the Great Depression for that purpose; to protect investors and maintain orderly financial markets. So though it takes work and there are many forms and documents to file or maintain, the process keeps the owner and investor safe through the risk of business development.

There is an online article of 21 individuals with failed business attempts only to become a business leader in their particular field. One individual on the list stands out and relates to the title of this post; Sir James Dyson. The process to create a bagless prototype of the vacuum cleaner took him 15 years and 5,126 failed prototypes. Through all those years, the view may have been that he was mining for fool's gold because all vacuum cleaners used bags to collect the dirt. Yet, here we are today and the Dyson is the elite of vacuum cleaners. Much like the gold particles in pyrite, the process may be "notoriously hard to extract", yet the results can be valuable.

Chasing after gold does not have to be a foolish or off-putting process. Even though the process may be long and arduous, seem worthless in the beginning, and reward may not come for years, there's gold in them there hills. Even if it is fool's gold, which isn't so foolish after all.

*Post edited to correct the founding date of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The original post stated 85 years ago. The SEC was founded in 1934. - 4/5/22

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