TechCrunch's "Founder Stories" series recently presented an interview with Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. Mayor Bloomberg is a highly successful tech entrepreneur as well as a 3-term mayor of the Big Apple. He discusses the role of hard work, as well as luck (he mentions luck twice), in his success.
While I was watching the interview, I thought about this quote from Paul Schoemaker: "The school of hard knocks is a great teacher, even if the tuition is very high, precisely because the lessons make such a deep imprint." At least three times in the interview Mayor Bloomberg refers to his being fired from Salomon Brothers more than 30 years earlier. In spite of his subsequent triumphs, the occasion of his firing still gnaws at him, still gives him something to prove. Here's the entire interview:
You can find Mayor Bloomberg's story of his firing in this excerpt of "Bloomberg by Bloomberg" from the New York Times.