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A song for entrepreneurs

Raghu Mohan
31st Aug 2013
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For those who know John Mayer, have probably realised that he's gone through a metamorphosis of sorts. His classy, bluesy, electric guitar brand of music has been replaced by acoustic, country like music. It's a refreshing change and his last two albums have produced some very heartfelt songs. One such song, from his album 'Born and Raised,' is the weirdly titled "Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967". This banjo and snare drum accompanied song is about a fictitious man, Walt Grace, and his frustration with life, which led him to build a submarine.


Walt Grace

I don't quite know what inspired him to write this song, but if there ever was a song describing the life of an entrepreneur, it would be this one. The lyrics go somewhat like this -

Walt Grace, desperately hating his old place
Dreamed to discover a new space and buried himself alive
Inside his basement
The tongue on the side of his face meant
He's working away on displacement
And what it would take to survive
'Cause when you're done with this world
You know the next is up to you
And his wife told his kids he was crazy
And his friends said he'd fail if he tried
But with the will to work hard and a library card
He took a homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride

Just today, we wrote of a person who chose to startup because he had the "keeda" in him. Walt Grace is no different. Frustrated with his life, he's chosen to do something about it. When you dare to think beyond this world, people will discourage you from doing so, especially your close ones. But you choose to persist, because you believe in it.

That morning the sea was mad and I mean it
Waves as big as he'd seen it deep in his dreams at home
From dry land, he rolled it over to wet sand
Closed the hatch up with one hand
And pedaled off alone
'Cause when you're done with this world
You know the next is up to you
And for once in his life, it was quiet
As he learned how to turn in the tide
And the sky was aflare when he came up for air
In his homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride

When your starting out, especially during the early days, you're all by yourself. Many have said that entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. Walt Grace, in the song, has thought about what his experiment is going to be, and all the bad things that he thought about it, turned out to be true. But it is persisting through this time, that he found success. He could turn in the tide, and he knew, that he had succeeded, long before the world would know it.

One evening, when weeks had passed since his leaving
The call she planned on receiving finally made it home
She accepted the news she never expected
The operator connected the call from Tokyo
'Cause when you're done with this world
You know the next is up to you
Now his friends bring him up when they're drinking
At the bar with his name on the side
And they smile when they can, as they speak of the man
Who took a homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride

Soon enough, the world comes to know about your success. The same wife, who asked Walt Grace to not do what he was doing, now will celebrate him. The friends who told him that he will fail, will raise a toast to him. People will aspire to be like him, in the generations to come. And it all boils down to one line in the song, that repeats itself in every paragraph of this song -

'Cause when you're done with this world
You know the next is up to you

So when, you're done living by the rules of this world, what are you going to do?

Watch/listen to the song here - 


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