Have you ever thought how powerful knowledge can be?
I did not, until I heard about the story of Samuel Slater.
Most probably you never heard about Samuel until now and I am not surprised, but let me tell you something about him that might story that might inspire you.
Samuel was born in Derbyshire, England in 1768.
After the loss of his father at 14, he was obliged to start working in the family business: a cotton mill.
Those years, between 1760 and 1820, were the years of the first industrial revolution, when new manufacturing processes got introduced in several industries (iron production, textile, chemicals, etc.) generating a never-seen-before growth in United Kingdom and other European countries. This was the birth of modern day economy as we know it.
Thanks to Samuel too. But how?
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the rising United States of America was the biggest pool of raw materials and manpower in the World. It was a new paradise to discover. Technology and machinery, that in Europe, made industry effective, were basically unknown in US, but what was the real lack? Knowledge.
The United States had the biggest harvesting potential for the time, making it a perfect lead for textile entrepreneurs. The United Kingdom was quick fast to pass a law, in 1774, in order to ban textile workers from travelling to America. That can seem weird or out of time, but would you give your biggest competitor the opportunity to target a brand new customer segment before you? It is the same logic.
By the age of 29, Samuel had gained so much knowledge on the practice and process for cotton spinning and was aware about America’s need to get in touch with these new technologies, but exporting machine and process designs was not allowed as well.
So, what was Samuel’s solution?
He started memorizing all the details regarding designs and processes for machinery and got in the first boat to the East Coast. After 2 years, the United States was producing 80 million dollars worth of cotton, when before Samuel’s arrival the maximum was 2 million.
There is something that cannot be controlled, but can have the biggest impact in the World: knowledge. Samuel, the Traitor of Brits and the Hero for Americans, was the first expert leverage the power of knowledge across the global market and we can actually say he is one of the key pioneers of the experts network business.