“‘Entrepreneur’ Has Become a Buzzword. Let’s Reclaim It”

This article takes a unique approach to the overuse of “entrepreneur” as a buzzword. This article is the interview of Daniel Isenberg on his book,  Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid. In his book, Isenberg “argues that anything entrepreneurial–truly entrepreneurial–shouldn’t be perceived as valuable, feasible, or smart.” Rather, he claims entrepreneurism is about “seeing value where nobody else does” and that it is “contrarian”. Isenberg believes that society has confused entrepreneurism to mean startups – “that every entrepreneur is a startup and every startup is an entrepreneur”; “that every entrepreneur is innovative and most innovations are entrepreneurial”. In fact, as Isenberg notes, being an entrepreneur is more. It is “doing something that is out of the ordinary in terms of value creation. Entrepreneurs are creating extraordinary value by, in the most general sense, buying low and selling high. They’re beating the market by taking something that looks less valuable to everybody else.”



One thought on ““‘Entrepreneur’ Has Become a Buzzword. Let’s Reclaim It”

  1. I think his definition is too limiting – he’s really talking about startups based upon disruptive innovations, and most innovations aren’t disruptive, Furthermore, most people would probably consider someone who starts a business to be an “entrepreneur” even if they’re not doing something that “no one else is doing.”

    This is another debate that’s been going on for a long time. As we’ll see when we read Zoltan Acs, it’s particularly important in the context of economic development, especially in developing nations. No one wants an “entrepreneurial society” that consists of nothing but self-employed people! That means that companies have to be able to GROW – and most small businesses don’t.

    So Isenberg – like a lot of others – is arguing that we need to be more focused on the companies that have the potential to grow, to employ larger numbers of people, to be the big hits. And in that respect, I think he’s absolutely right.