From time to time we all skirt the rules a little in our efforts to succeed.

Matt Ackerson was in college (Cornell University) when he was stung by the entrepreneurial bug. Matt shuffled into an entrepreneurship speaker series late one night. He listened as the speaker told his story of hard work, adventure, and making millions. A few weeks later he quit the rowing team. The coach assumed he was in love with some girl, the real reason was he wanted to spend his time starting a biz.

His first start-up was an events-based website for local students. He walked dorm to dorm, and individually surveyed over four-hundred students. In one dorm the residence hall director stopped Matt for “soliciting” and asked that he leave the building. He was getting close to finishing his survey, so he politely said “Ok, no problem,” left her office, slipped around the corner to continue. He was caught a few minutes later and was forced to stand trial in a court of his college peers. Matt apologized for the transgression and got off easy.

Matt’s second business was a coupon website. After the site was built he was eager to test the concept. He sent out several thousand emails to inform students of the important benefits of the service. Although there was a positive response (particularly for the free beer coupon) his marketing tactics were quickly curtailed when a disgruntled grad student reported him to the administration. The administrator let him off with a warning, and then nonchalantly told him how to effectively promote like that again and not get caught.

A few months later Matt and a few friends were continuing to promote the coupon website when they decided to chalk the website name on just about every walk-way across campus—including the stone steps leading up to the Dean’s office. Well, I guess you could say that Matt made the Dean’s list but I don’t think it was for academic achievement.

Two possible morals today. You can stretch the rubber band, but don’t break it OR to paraphrase the great George Bernard Shaw, the progress of the world depends upon the persistence of the unreasonable man.