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My top 5 lessons from hard times

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The author as a young man in the 1930s, photographed in Grand Rapids, Mich., after getting his first job, with Addressograph-Multigraph in New York City.
Dashew Family Archive
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2. Don't quit if you don't have the skills

A few years later I had an extraordinary opportunity to create a technology that would automate the credit-card industry. I could envision how it would work, but I did not know how to design and engineer it. I did, however, have the resources to tap the expertise of other people who could.

The Databosser V100 became the first machine to emboss credit cards automatically – thus eliminating the problem of human error caused by handwritten credit-card slips that was plaguing the industry. I later sold the company to Howard Hughes, making a very tidy profit.

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