Affinity and Beyond – Episode 33

Brianna continued to pursue the stories of those alumni of Henry’s foundation who struggled. Henry told her: “You have to talk with Cranston Jennings. He was probably the most talented young person I ever met but also the most frustrating.” Brianna was intrigued by the seeming contradiction in what Henry had said.

Cranston grew up in a family of privilege and toxicity. When he was 16, he became emancipated and came to Henry’s foundation. There was never a challenge to ignite Cranston’s imagination. His first talent led to a YouTube channel where he invited teens to share their rescue stories. The channel was an immense hit, but Cranston gave up on it when he got bored.

Next he set up an online swap-shop where young people could trade items of clothing, electronics, etc. Again, this site was an immense success, but he again became bored with it. In both of these cases, he found successors to keep the sites going.

Cranston was able to take dual credit college courses while still in high school. His work in those courses was so outstanding that he was able to get full-ride scholarships to some very good schools. But he chose not to accept them and decided college wasn’t for him. He just didn’t want to be tied down to a single career.

When he left Henry’s foundation, Cranston continued his pattern of un-sustained innovative success. He would work for a company for a few years and create something that led the company to become a leader in its market. But then he would leave. In all cases, the royalty payments from his inventions were massive. But Cranston lived a very modest lifestyle while his fortune grew.

What was remarkable about his inventions were they were in vastly different technology areas. Cranston had the remarkable talent of connecting technologies from different fields to create entirely new technologies.

When Brianna asked Cranston to sum up his career, his summary was very vivid: “I want to be the Johnny Appleseed of innovation. I want to use the assets I’ve created to create future innovation pioneers.”

As Brianna wrote Cranston’s story, she could understand Henry’s frustration with him. But she didn’t share Henry’s view that Cranston was a disappointment. Maybe there are those whose talent is to be the initiators even if they don’t have the talent to see things they initiate come to fruition.

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“A person susceptible to wanderlust is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.”  – Pico Iyer (Novelist)

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