I speak on the topic of entrepreneurship, a fair bit. I’ve been in and around start-ups for just about 20 years, since helping launch a pure-play Internet company way back in 1996.
And one of the things I’ve observed is that when folks talk about socialdeviant, they tend to refer to me as the entrepreneur.
That’s only natural, I suspect – to look to the founder as the flag-bearer for the firm’s entrepreneurial essence and spirit.
But in our case – and I’m sure in many others – that wouldn’t come close to being right.
In my book, you’re an entrepreneur the minute you step out of a corporate environment and agree to join a start-up. Whether you’re employee Zero, 1 or 41, you’re an entrepreneur.
For starters, you’ve taken the risk. Turning your back on the predictability of a corporate paycheck, and all of the benefits that go along with that, defines entrepreneurial spirit.
Next, you’ve embraced the unknown. Most corporate jobs are fairly routinized – they provide a roadmap, which helps them to drive scale and to create formulas for training, development and advancement. Start-ups are the great unknown – every day brings new challenges, increasing uncertainty, and the lack of any GPS navigation assistance.
Maybe most important, you’ve embraced the fundamental start-up notion of trade-offs. In corporate America, everyone strives to have their cake and eat it, too. You can have a salary, a benefits package, a bit of upside, AND the chance to work on a cool skunk-works project that might just put a man on Mars. In the start-up world, you’re forced to choose. Choose the thing, or small set of things, that really matter to you, and pursue them recklessly. Trade-offs are what entrepreneurs, and successful start-ups, are all about.
Entrepreneurs are scrappy. Resilient. Optimistic. Proactive. Focused. Ambitious. Resourceful.
Truer words were never spoken about socialdeviant.
For sure, entrepreneurs take risks. They embrace uncertainty. They lean into decisions that are not obvious, by accepting the basic notion of trade-offs.
And this too, I am sure of it, is true about everyone who works at socialdeviant, and I suspect, at your start-up as well. Yes, this is our company.
Yes, we are building it brick by brick. Yes, we are assuming all the risk, and yes, we are willing every day to make tough trade-off decisions.
Yes, we are all entrepreneurs. Every last one of us.