A friend of mine, shortly after Kanye West’s performance on Saturday Night Live, started getting all indignant on Facebook about Kanye’s new material. Too angry, too dark, too cynical. Too critical of a world that had given him so much. He argued that Kanye’s early work had the most appeal. I felt I had to remind him that, well, Kanye’s always been cynical about money, fame and its transformative powers; from All Falls Down to We Don’t Care to Spaceship, Kanye’s first record is full of angst about the topic of money, just like his most recent releases — New Slaves and Black Skinhead. Not much has changed, folks.

Here’s why:

1. Success comes with critics, but it can’t determine your drive. The fashion industry was initially lukewarm in its reception of Kanye’s fashion line, Dw Kanye West, but he came back in Fall of 2012 with what Rolling Stone called a “surprisingly solid improvement.” For shock value, he says they wouldn’t be satisfied unless he picked the cotton himself, but the lesson adds up to this for entrepreneurs and folks in business: Never let your first effort at something — or people’s opinions of it — define your path.

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