This post originally appeared at VCCircle on Sep 25h.
Speaking at student entrepreneurship event this week, I got a chance to talk to a few investors on the sidelines. They were observing that entrepreneurship is the “cool thing now among students” and they were skeptical that it would last. They also mentioned that they were disturbed by the hype generated by the press and media on the few successes versus the swathes of companies that were the walking dead. I was thinking to myself that they have a valid point but then realized I was buying into the spin myself.
Entrepreneurship is vastly underrated – everywhere in the world, including in Silicon Valley.
I don’t say this because entrepreneurs create jobs – employees at bigger companies create jobs as well. Neither do I think entrepreneurs necessarily create a lot more value than their counterparts at larger companies (there are exceptions). I also don’t believe entrepreneurs create a lot more wealth than their counterparts at bigger companies. In fact entrepreneurs create wealth for a limited few (venture investors) than employees at larger companies (retail investors).
I say this because entrepreneurs are optimists. Employees’ at large companies are realists.
Realists know that they have constraints (student loan, aging parents, mortgage, etc) and work to optimize their constraints. It’s a much needed skill and a hugely valuable one.
The world needs more optimists at this point.
An entrepreneur’s optimism is infectious. She envelopes you with her obsession for the problem she’s trying to solve. She speaks with the eloquence of a seasoned televangelist and the passion of Russian gym coach trying to urge her prized student to over perform.
The entrepreneur’s optimism is all encompassing. The hurdles she faces daily including lack of connections, lack of credibility or even the inability to meet payroll don’t deter her. Her optimism overwhelms her outlook towards the daunting problems we mortals face daily.
The entrepreneur’s optimism is never ending. She knows (possibly) at the back of her mind that the odds are stacked against her. That’s what makes her admirable – she does not care. As far as she’s concerned, she’s not giving up, either today, tomorrow or when gas prices hit $200 per gallon.
P.S: I always use She instead of He in my posts – its interchangeable for all practical purposes