Thursday, September 3, 2009

Who wants to be average?

The August 27th issue of The Economist leads with an article on the return of the corporate giant. Here is a pithy bit from the article:
You might suppose that the return of the mighty, now better equipped to crush the competition, is something to worry about. Not necessarily. Big is not always ugly just as small is not always beautiful. Most entrepreneurs dream of turning their start-ups into giants (or at least of selling them to giants for a fortune).
I'd like to parse that out a little bit. Let's do a little editing, shall we? Take the statistical sentence: most entrepreneurs. Hmmm. Let's, do let's take out that "most" and replace it with... average... or better yet run-of-the-mill. Yeah, that's the ticket:
Average, run-of-the-mill entrepreneurs follow the pattern that is often fed to them (like fattening of ducks for foie gras), accepting that the ultimate goal of all passion, innovation, and drive is TO EXIT from their dreams, eventually selling their start-ups to corporate giants.
Unusually, perhaps (but then, who wants to be average?), I am an entrepreneur to PURSUE those passions, drive, and innovations, rather than to escape from them. My motivation is transforming what is in the world into what might be. Funny, take that sentence: you won't notice any reference to small investment or large payout.

Sure, I'm interested in developing practical products and applications for my innovations, and indeed in profiting from them, but the profit motive is incidental to the innovations and their contribution to real-world needs. If my firm balloons into a giant, I only hope that it maintains its core of passion, drive, and innovation. I don't prejudge whether or not it might one day be sold to a giant or other investor. An exit just isn't top on my priorities.

1 comment:

  1. It's all about what matters to you. Some people start companies solely to make money. If that's their dream and their drive, then they have succeeded by walking away with an assload of cash. They have not exited their dreams, but furthered themselves on their path to attain their dreams. You are obviously not in it for that reason.

    You see many entrepreneurs, however, that may take that EXIT because the business of owning a large (bordering on giant) company doesn't allow them to pursue the same passions, drive and innovations that they were pursuing when they started the company. Instead of innovators, as CEO they become executives. An executive can't spend time in the lab, they have other duties to perform. The innovation is passed down to an R&D group instead.

    If everything works out for your company and it becomes a giant, you may find that you have to EXIT the company in order to pursue your passions, drive, and innovations.


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