The Bard: A Fabulous Entrepreneur Who Died 400 Years Ago

By Jorge Céspedes, Guest Writer

William Shakespeare.                Image Source:
William Shakespeare. Image Source:

People naturally think of Shakespeare as an artist and a playwright, but he was also a pretty good business man. In 1599 he built the largest open air amphitheater in London: The Globe Theater. He knew his market, he knew how to cater to that market, he made true real estate investments. When he changed the name of his Lord Chamberlain’s Men Company to the King´s Men Company (1603) once King James became his patron, he gained a mark of exceptional prestige.

How in the earth an artist who did not have higher education could become, in the words of scholars and connoisseurs of his life, “the most influential figure in human civilization” (1) According to Paul Johnson, the British historian and journalist, he created 6000 of the English words included in the Oxford English Dictionary. That´s an example of his influence. Consequently, the fact that he was an entrepreneur who created and conducted his own company should capture the attention of business people, because that is a demonstration of the historical impact an entrepreneur can make in society.

The Globe Theater, London. Image Source: Venture Galleries.
The Globe Theater, London Image Source: Venture Galleries

This year, on April 23rd, on the day it seems he was born, we also commemorate 400 years of his death, a kind of myth as per many specialists on Shakespeare´s biography. Besides that, this same year, the world will see China most probably gaining medals right behind the US at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And this year, the world will suffer one of the most inclement climatological phenomena in earth: El Niño.

Due to the anniversaries described above, Shakespeare´s plays are going to be in theaters as a global festivity, all over the world, throughout the year. If he were alive, the royalties from his work would be immensurable. He would most probably be one of the richest men on earth. He would be not only be a multimillionaire, but also a highly respected humanist for all his contributions to society.

The Globe Theater, London. Image Source: Reuters, 2013.
The Globe Theater, London. Image Source: Reuters, 2013.

There is no doubt that a creator like Shakespeare is born only once every 50 or 100 years, and it would be naïve to believe that the world is full of contemporary entrepreneurs with his same fruitful capacity to create and innovate. The purpose of this article is to describe an exemplary entrepreneur who has made a huge impact by doing something relevant for this world. I particularly believe that it is easy to make money, but it is not easy to make it by creating something valuable for society.

I invite you to see some of Shakespeare´s plays anywhere in the world throughout the year. His plays are translated into most of the different languages that are spoken in countries where there is a theater. Among his body of work, we have 37 plays about the nature of human beings, a centennial product that will survive for many more centuries. I am sure that´s a prestige that every single company that currently exists would envy to wield on their portfolios. He wrote about history, he wrote comedies, tragedies, and tragicomedies. His legacy is immediately illustrated in your brain just when you pronounce the name of his brand, in other words, his own name: Shakespeare.


Editor’s Note: If you live in the Phoenix area and would like to experience Shakespeare in this “Year of the Bard,” check out:

Class 6 Theatre: Production of Shakespeare tragedy “Macbeth”  March 23rd – April 4th (Mesa)

Southwest Shakespeare Company: Production of  the Shakespeare comedy “Twelfth Night” March 25th – April 9th (Mesa)

 Brelby Theatre Company: “Macbeth” October 14th – November 5th (Glendale)


(1) Adrian Cohen, Actor, Director, Theatrical Teacher. Adrian has been a professional actor and drama teacher for 22 years. He was born and educated in England, completing a BA (honors) at Leeds University and a Drama Diploma at the Arts Educational Schools, London.


Jorge Céspedes is candidate for the Global MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He obtained his B.A. degree and his Professional Title of Licentiate in Business Administration at University of The Pacific in Lima, Perú. He has worked in sales and marketing for Unilever, Bayer, Goodyear, Shell, and recently for GE. He is an arts´ zealot and particularly loves theater, museums, and classical music.

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