We don’t need more entrepreneurs..
February 22, 2018

I have a few unpopular opinions but this probably riles up people the most.

Surely in the face of a changing job force, automation, unemployment we need to fight back with a system that creates more individuals capable of creating their own fates. Right?

Not necessarily.

Each day I see and interact with individuals, so-called “entrepreneurs” who have the next huge idea, believe they’ll be the next billionaire startup founder, haven’t created anything tangible, who go from pitch competition to pitch competition and incubator to accelerator and back again.

We don’t need more of these people.

These are not entrepreneurs. 

I’ve heard them called many things: wantrepreneurs, hustlers and so on.

I don’t know what you want to call them, I want them to call themselves something different. Something that doesn’t take away from actual entrepreneurs.

Let me tell you a few things about the most successful entrepreneurs in the world: 
⁃ They solve problems
⁃ They strive for impact
⁃ Their “why” is deeper than cash

These people are rooted in driving value and creating a better environment around them.

For example, when Elon Musk sold financial services disrupter, PayPal, he took home 180 million. Most wanterpreneuers would have stopped there. Cashed out and enjoyed the rest of their days on a private island type experience. We won’t judge you if that’s what you want.

But I believe “entrepreneurship” is what Elon did next.

“My proceeds from PayPal were $180 million. I put $100m into SpaceX, $70m in Tesla and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.”

(He might have bought a McLaren F1 too) 

He flipped $180 million into investments into 3 incredible businesses all rooted in answering bigger issues for humanity. What happens when we run out of oil? When renewable clean energy is the only solution? When we have to find another planet to live on?

That greater purpose has resulted in $21 billion net worth for Elon. But more importantly, it’s created value. There is financial benefit in doing good, in delivering meaningful impact.

So what now? Well while we don’t need more entrepreneurs, we certainly need more people that are entrepreneurially minded.

We need more individuals that think and behave like entrepreneurs each day, whether inside small businesses, corporates or government.

Those who practice the entrepreneurial mindset:

 — Are purpose driven. Their raison d’être is rooted in something bigger than themselves. Bigger than the products or services they are selling.

— They are gritty. Perseverance and persistence in the face of all odds. One’s ability to hang in there. Grit has a greater predictability for ultimate success than grades, social intelligence, family income, good looks (yes even mine, hehe), physical health and IQ.

— They are innovative. This doesn’t mean copy and pasting what comes out of Silicon Valley. It’s about solving a problem in your own context with a localized solution

— They are exponential. Instead of plotting life in an incremental linear manner they seek to improve by 10 times as much. The exponential mindset seeks to leverage technology and the tools around you to make things grow at a rate unimaginable before.

— They practice what Da Vinci called “arte & scienza.” Art and Science. Whole brain thinking. The integration of both logic and imagination is crucial to being successful.

Want to be an entrepreneur? Want to be a success? This is the reality in 2018. Embrace it.

Furthermore to even address the challenges around us we have to behave in this manner going forward.

The world and it’s challenges are moving at an exponential rate. Faster, quicker, harsher than ever before.

The number of people is rising on an exponential curve. Our use of resources per person is rising on an exponential curve as well. Look at the Cape Town water crisis!

In order to survive, we need to start thinking and acting differently right now.

The success principles of entrepreneurship and it’s thinking translate to the universal success principles of any other industry.

So no, we don’t need anymore “entrepreneurs.” 

We don’t need anymore people chasing funding with no actual product, chasing handouts, chasing cash, chasing quick wins, blaming government and everyone else around them for why they haven’t achieved yet.

We need people built for the winter. Not for the good days, for raising money, for Instagram. But rather the long, hard, cold, back breaking days. We need people with a mindset shift.

We need problem solvers, innovators, purpose-minded fixers.


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