Dickinson’s keynote speech focused on what it means to be an entrepreneur, from his first forays into business at 12 years old with a “rent a pencil” scheme at school. He advised guests at the Innovation Forum that to be a success they will have to show great determination and energy, sacrifice sleep and always remember why they started their own business in the first place.
While “most things have already been discovered,” Dickinson told budding entrepreneurs to look at things from a fresh perspective. “What an entrepreneur sees is opportunities and the world in a different way,” he said. “Most things in the world have been discovered, but an entrepreneur will see an opportunity and how to look at things from a different direction.
“Business is really about building and facilitating relationships,” he continued. “Remember that without the customer, your invention or idea is nonsense. You also need to know your limitations and what you can and can’t do, take time to pick the right partners and to trust them.”
Dickinson, whose father was a used car salesman and an engineer, advised guests to “look at the bigger picture” and get back up again after taking knocks. He also touched on the issue of illegal downloads, commenting that the music industry is “crying into its beer.” With music inevitably becoming a free commodity, he noted that there continues to be a demand for merchandise.
A video interview with Dickinson, conducted during his visit to the Queen Mary university, can be seen below.
Dickinson received an honorary doctorate in music from Queen Mary in July 2011 (see photo below). He was presented by Professor David Baker of the Centre For Neuroscience And Trauma in honor of Dr. Dickinson‘s contribution to the music industry.
Dickinson, 54, actually received a degree in history from the same college in 1979. His parents wanted him in the army, but he told them that he wanted to get a degree first. “That was what they wanted to hear so that was my cover story,” he later said. “When I got down there, I started immediately finding and playing in bands.”
Multi-talented Dr. Dickinson is not only a musician and songwriter, author, film script writer and TV broadcaster, also a champion fencer, entrepreneur and commercial airline pilot. In 2006, Dr. Dickinson flew 200 U.K. citizens home from Lebanon during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in his converted Boeing 757.
Queen Mary is one of the U.K.’s leading research-focused universities, offering a broad range of degrees in humanities and social sciences; medicine and dentistry and science and engineering, with over 14,000 undergraduates, 2,000 postgraduate students and 3,000 staff.