"Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle." - Abraham Lincoln. 


I found this quote during my research for Hustle and Float, and was immediately skeptical. (The Internet has a spotty record for accurately citing who said what.) 

I fell down a rabbit hole that spanned both the evolution of the term hustle within our cultural narrative as well as the development of Abe Lincoln as a digital meme (see the side bar for my favorites). Both digital safaris were fascinating and I hope my notes make it into the book! 

This particular Lincoln quote got me thinking about the reason behind linking a greatly respected historical figure and the word "hustle" as it's applied to our contemporary work culture. Interestingly, as I traced back different versions of the quote, I found it had shifted over time from simply saying "things may come," to "good things may come" and finally, the latest iteration, "great things may come." 

Good things are no longer enough, we now demand the arrival of great things and we only deserve them if we hustle. There's a lot of symbolism here: a man of impeachable character, the notion of working harder than those around us, all woven together via pixels and bytes to push a very specific narrative about self-worth and value.

As you might have guessed, Lincoln did not say those motivating words. According to a 2003 newsletter from the Abraham Lincoln Association

The word hustle in Lincoln’s time would have been understood to mean “to get up” or to “obtain,” as in “hustle me up a few chips to start this fire.” The word hustle as used in the quote refers to an energetic effort. Yet this usage did not appear until very late in the nineteenth century, well after Lincoln died. Hustle became embedded in popular culture with the rise of competitive sports and the disco song, “The Hustle,” by Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony, which sold eight million copies in 1975.  

The article helpfully concludes that "Lincoln may have been ambitious, but he did not hustle."



What I've been up to: 

  • [Madrid] I was the closing plenary at SAS Forum Spain. I spoke about Human Centric Analytics: How Big Data Can Create Meaningful Customer Experiences to a crowd of 900. 
  • [Paris] I presented at HR Congrès about the importance of being a "Data Literate Leader." 
  • [Denver] I spoke at AFP Annual meeting about how Big Data was impacting the org chart  and explored some of the new roles that were emerging to tackle this demand. I also taught a workshop on Ethical Data Practices, to make sure company policies are non-creepy. 


  • I'll be teaching an online course on Innovation and Landscape Analysis over at OneMonth. I spent some time in New York this month filming and finalizing content. I'll post more information soon, but I wanted you to hear about it first! 
  • I'm happy to announce that I've joined NUMA (one of Paris' biggest tech incubators) as a mentor for their startup community.

Thank you so much to those of you that emailed me some ideas and suggestions for the Foush Reports. Based on your feedback, I'll be introducing more exclusive content, videos, and more excerpts of my writing and digital doodles. You'll also see some new regular features introduced starting next month, so keep your eyes peeled! 


Happy reading!

What Piqued My Interest: 

  • A depressing yet fascinating article in The Cut about how men only like the idea of a smart woman. Sigh.  
  • This video shows what happens to your body when you check your smartphone before you go to bed. 



Nov 9: Thinkers50 Gala 

Nov 10: SAS Forum Rome (Rome, Italy) 

Nov 12: Decoded Conference (Rome, Italy)  

Nov 23: Private Event (Copenhagen, Denmark) 

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