Saffron and Networking – One Example of Interconnection @ HBS

There is one comment that stands out; one conversation having made a great impression on me in these first two weeks.  My Field professor told a story about a former student who had boldly followed her passion to start a social enterprise in Afghanistan, selling saffron grown by former opium farmers.  Professor Ghosh used this example to emphasize a point that we, HBS graduates, have a tremendous safety net to fall back on.  This safety net is strong enough that even an epic failure would not result in any real consequence.  “I didn’t kill anyone.  I didn’t start a war.” He quoted a failed athlete.  His point being, with such a small downside of failure and such a tremendous upside of success, we might as well follow our passions.  My sectionmate, interjected, offering some information about the former student. He had served with her in Afghanistan.  After class, He posted the link to the company’s website. This exchange really sticks in my mind for two reasons.  First, the point that Professor Ghosh was making about failure really resonated with me and something I have been reflecting about a lot recently (see my earlier reflection for evidence).  Second, my sectionmate’s experience with founder demonstrated how connected this place is.  It seems now more than ever that HBS is a small network of some pretty amazing people.

Saffron farmers Haji Zarghon (left) and Haji Ebrahim speak with Abdul Shakhoor Ehrarri, a water applications specialist for Rumi Spice, in Herat Province, Afghanistan during the harvest on Nov. 22, 2014.

Saffron farmers Haji Zarghon (left) and Haji Ebrahim speak with Abdul Shakhoor Ehrarri, a water applications specialist for Rumi Spice, in Herat Province, Afghanistan during the harvest on Nov. 22, 2014. From Rumispice via NPR.org

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