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The story of Timothy Dexter (wikipedia.org)
48 points by swalsh on Sept 4, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

>In the second edition Dexter added an extra page which consisted of 13 lines of punctuation marks. Dexter instructed readers to "peper and solt it as they plese".

...zero f*cks given.

My mom had this saying from her grandfather which was something like "While a smart guy still contemplates an opportunity, the simple one has already gone there and seized it". Oftentimes because he never thinks about the danger of his action, he just does.

I think my favorite part is the ASCII art from 1798: http://books.google.com/books?id=uboNAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA36#v=...

(Yes, ASCII wasn't around in 1798.)

My takeaway from this is that brains are superfluous in business and may even be a hindrance. Actually a bimodal distribution with Dexter on one end and Bezos on the other is more likely to be beneficial.

...And for him, timing was everything. That is my take away.

What a great story! I have no idea how this is relevant to HN but I found it hilarious.

It really is just a great story... but deep down I think there's some good business lessons here.

Luck matters, but deep down I think his luckiest break was having a great boat captain. The guy found profit in the most unlikeliest of places by improvising.

I'd love to read about his story, but I'd wager that he wasn't notable enough; it would be interesting to find his journal.

"August 17th, 1782. The idiot sent us to the West Indies with a boat-load of warming pans. It was only through my ingenuity and hustle that I was able to convince the locals that they would make excellent ladles - we actually managed to turn a profit! I can already imagine the smug look on Dexter's face when we tell him about this. I bet this will inspire him to send something even more idiotic next time, like wool mittens. Note to self, don't show him this journal lest he get any ideas."


what a LAD

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