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November 2013
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You’re An Entrepreneur? You Must Be Mad!

Posted by: Alex Linley, Director, Capp

 

When we started Capp, we got a lot of responses along the same lines of this blog post title. Tens of thousands of strengths-based interviews and tens of thousands of completions of Realise2 later, people now take a different view. It’s always easy to see success after the event; far harder to predict it ahead of time.

 

It’s this that Global Entrepreneurship Week is all about supporting. The people who see things differently, who are prepared to take a chance, who believe in themselves and their ideas even when almost everyone else around them is doubting.

 

These perspectives are the theme of one of the best books on entrepreneurship I have read in a while. Worthless, Impossible and Stupid (by Daniel Isenberg) describes the perspectives of the people who don’t see the opportunity for the product (Worthless), who overestimate the challenge to bring it to market (Impossible), and who criticise and doubt the people who dare to think differently and give it a go (Stupid).

 

Thankfully for us all and for society as a whole, entrepreneurs fall for none of these traps. Instead, they see value where others don’t. They match their skills and strengths to the challenges and opportunities they face. And they take the right judgement calls to make it all happen to deliver success.

 

There’s a great line in Oliver Stone’s 1987 film Wall Street that sums this up brilliantly. It’s not the “Greed is good” quote for which Gordon Gekko became famous. Instead, it’s this almost throwaway line that describes the entrepreneurial process in a sentence:

 

“Money isn’t lost or made. It’s simply transferred from one perception to another.”

 

This is the entrepreneur’s gift and raison d’etre. To see inefficiencies in opportunities and markets – and to fix them. When the entrepreneur succeeds, we all benefit – by definition, since if the entrepreneur was not creating value, they would not have customers, they would not be succeeding.

 

So, especially here in Global Entrepreneurship Week, let’s raise a salute to the outliers, the weird ones, the people who see things differently.

 

But above all, here’s to the people who not only see, but do; to those who feel the risk but take it anyway.

 

Here’s to the entrepreneurs. Your country needs you!

 

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One Response to You’re An Entrepreneur? You Must Be Mad!

  • Genevieve says:

    Being an entrepreneur means you’re a little bit crazy–you have to see things differently in order to step outside the box and become successful. That’s what makes “the next big thing” so big–it’s innovative and hasn’t been thought of yet.

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