Archive | January, 2011

The entrepreneur’s “irrational state of being”

25 Jan

There’s something I read from a blogger on Harvard Business Review that I cannot seem to shake.  The author concludes that “being an entrepreneur is an irrational state of being.”  He goes on to say that if humans would sit down and calculate what their best odds for financial safety and security would be, they would surely avoid being an entrepreneur and opt for a “real job” instead.  Nowadays with the 10% unemployment and uncertainty of job stability in the workplace, coupled with the fact that there are fewer barriers than ever with starting a business or enterprise, I would posit that becoming an entrepreneur is more and more attractive and financially viable.  If you don’t believe me, then check out the glif to see just how easy it is to create a product from scratch with little money or experience and in no time at all.  But even with this in mind:

Why do we, as entrepreneurs, continue to advance our irrational agendas and bold plans that many view as bordering on insane?

  • Freedom of expression/freedom of lifestyle: Entrepreneurship is a way of life. Heck, this country was founded on this very freedom and we should be proud of taking advantage of this freedom.   You may be gladly writing emails at 2 am, sketching product designs in the middle of the night, and even when you have not seen your friends for weeks at a time, its still completely worth it to entrepreneurs.   The notion of punching the clock for the mundanity of a 9 to 5 has little or no appeal for the true entrepreneur.  At the root of our entrepreneurial core is a deep love of seeing a vision come to fruition and we will stop at nothing to make that a reality.
  • Passion:  I’ve met many entrepreneurs and one thing that ties all of them together is the notion that they have a deep love for what they do and believe in the power of their ideas, products, and services to transform the lives of others in a positive fashion.
  • Desire to create a legacy: Entrepreneurs have had a dramatic impact on the world.  Think Edison, Ford, Franklin, Gates, Jobs et al.  These men had/have the unique ability to view the world beyond themselves even when others could not. They are aiming to create real change even after they are gone.

These are a few thoughts on the values that I find that entrepreneurs hold true.  If you have any other thoughts please message me @CESteinfeld or post on the blog.

More on my current venture this week….I am in the process of creating the rendering of designs and finalizing my choice for the engineering of the prototype.

Always go for glory!


PS: The picture above is from a famously bad version of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Can you guess who it is?


Do or do not, there is no try

12 Jan

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately about what it truly means to be an entrepreneur.  It means accepting that you, yes you, ceteris paribus, are solely responsible for your own success.  In addition, it means that you commit yourself to starting your own enterprise.  This commitment requires faith and belief in your ability to not only create, but to assemble a team that can help execute your own plan for business success.

Yoda, one of the great prophets of our time, said it best:

“Do or do not, there is no try.”

Think about it. We have all come up with great business ideas and inventions that can serve to benefit the lives of others while benefiting our own, yet more often than not we choose to avoid taking the plunge into actually going through with it. The real genius of an idea comes not from the idea itself, but from having the guts to go through with implementing the idea in a systematic way, that makes business sense.

The great entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell once said that a real entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.  So if you have an idea that you truly believe in, get out there and make it happen.  Don’t delay, be bold, and go for glory!

Always going for glory!


Trudging forward into 2011

4 Jan

Mud Trudge

I remember reading You Cannot Be Serious by tennis legend John McEnroe a few years back. I consider McEnroe one of my tennis idols and found his book to be a great read.  One motif of his autobiography is:

“Always move forward.”

For an entrepreneur like me, this rings especially true.  Each day there seems to be constant distractions, roadblocks, setbacks, and the ever-so-present thoughts of “how the hell am I going to get this done?”  I’m learning that in order to continue to progress forward, it’s important to set myself weekly goals and to specify tasks for completion of these goals.  For me, these goals are all in line with the overarching objective of creating a new business and designing a new prototype.

Another question that I’ve been pondering lately is how does one maintain the intrinsic motivation to succeed and pursue their passions during these setbacks?  I tend to hearken back to the great American pioneers and their initial struggles (Franklin, Carnegie etc.). How many stories have you heard about immigrants coming to America with the clothes on their back and a nickel in their pocket, only to rise to power and prominence?  Early pioneers of the “American Dream” proved that great desperation can spark the fire and desire needed to accomplish greatness. I posit that humans are often at their best when in times of peril and despair.

For me, as I continue to grow my business concept, I’m living modestly, avoiding excess, riding my bike more often, etc. to essentially force a sense of financial desperation within my own psyche.  This concept has been brilliantly explored on the blog of Everett Bogue on his Minimalist Business blog. It’s a perfect example of the concept:

“Man should be judged not by what he can do with, but without.” Especially during times of new life ventures.

In addition to maintaining a sense of desperation, having a supportive team as well as allies and mentors can help keep motivation and desire alive when setbacks do occur because, sure enough, they will.

In essence, all entrepreneurs face roadblocks, challenges, and the inherent lack of intrinsic motivation.  But as Johnny Mac says, just keep moving forward for your dreams to be realized.

Always going for glory!