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The Upside of Turbulence by Donald Sull

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4.

ACTIVE INERTIA

A year into the recession, demand for vehicles continued to fall, major manufacturers went bust, and a sense of despair spread throughout Detroit. For Harvey Firestone, 1896 was turning out to be a very hard year.1 Firestone sold horse-drawn carriages in the Detroit branch of the Columbus Buggy Company, which produced high-priced vehicles until the recession forced the firm into receivership and Firestone out of a job. Firestone worked his network of personal contacts to identify another opportunity, and one afternoon he took an acquaintance for a ride in his carriage to discuss possible start-ups. His passenger commented on the smooth ride, which Harvey attributed to the buggy’s solid rubber wheels, the only set in Detroit ...

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