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.”
This Forbes article highlights one of the common myths discussed last class: youth superiority in entrepreneurship. According to the article, a study funded by the Kauffmann Foundation in which 500 successful high growth founders were surveyed indicated that the typical successful founder was 40 years old. The author explains that entrepreneurs often identify different opportunities based on their unique prior knowledge. For example, managers may recognize the need for new software in their line of business, while a recent college graduate may not have the business exposure necessary to recognize that same opportunity. Valuable business ideas are often not something obvious or trendy like those pursued by recent college graduates. Another thing noted by this article is the growing trend among universities to provide entrepreneurial coursework and pitch competitions, and how that trend may be misleading millennials out of viable careers. As professor mentioned last class, it will be interesting to track the average age of entrepreneurs in the next decade as the baby boomers move into retirement age but continue to pursue business opportunities.
Pozen’s article discusses and defines the so-called four newer categories of entrepreneurship: social, policy, norm, and moral. This Huffington Post article refers to Warby Parker as “social entrepreneurship.” However, Pozen’s piece defines social entrepreneurship as “most basically . . . anyone who starts a nonprofit organization.” Does anyone think companies like Warby Parker or Toms (with admirable “one-for-one” business models) actually fit into Pozen’s definition of social entrepreneurship? Does Warby Parker fit any of the category definitions? Or is Warby Parker in actuality a classic example of capitalistic entrepreneurship? Are these different categories of entrepreneurship even appropriate or necessary?
“Let’s get one thing clear: This economy is never truly coming back unless we reverse the birth and death trends of American businesses.”
Jim Clifton is chairman and CEO of Gallup, the polling firm. He makes some very interesting observations here – consider them in light of some of the data I showed you this week!
Here’s a nice article about how SB Mayor Pete Buttigieg is transforming city government using entrepreneurial approaches to policy.
This article reminded me of our discussion about whether entrepreneurs are born differently and the characteristics associated with successful entrepreneurs. We discussed that high self efficacy and internal locus of control are often strong indicators of entrepreneurs. This article asserts that “grit,” ability to understand the basics, relationship building, among other qualities make a great entrepreneur.