“Entrepreneurship” Against A Backdrop of Entrepreneurship

Ross Mayfield (CEO of Socialtext) has an excellent post on the Entrepreneur’s Sacrifice. The post hit me on a couple of levels because of the age-old saying, "the grass always looks greener on the other side."

On the one hand, I interact with a number of folks in larger organizations that from time to time wonder whether they should break out on their own. That type of discussion led me to write a post on entrepreneurship defined not by the type of company that one works for but by professional orientation on the job:

  • Entrepreneurship Defined As An Orientation: working and taking
    calculated risks to maximize the value of assets available as opposed
    to overprotecting assets and avoiding risks (trustee
    orientation/tendency).

I highlighted this perspective because of some stats also available in my original post:

As cited by Harvard Business School (HBS) professor Dr. John P. Kotler
in his book, "The New Rules" (1995) where he surveyed a portion of the
HBS Class of ’74, entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs are more alike
than they are different. Dr. Kotler does cite four areas where the
biggest exceptions bear out: independence, propensity to work hard,
need for autonomy, and need for security. If find it interesting to
note that biggest difference seemed to be in the area of security. For
entrepreneurs, only 2% needed security where for non-entrepreneurs the
figure was 18%. This is a 9X difference and should not be treated
lightly by those in large companies looking for a change or regretting
changes that they had not made to strike out on one’s own.

Ross also draws both sobering and optimistic pictures on managing relationships with one’s spouse in the context of an unseverable relationship with a venture. This is the second part about Ross’ post that hit me. Part of my reason in pursuing freelance management consulting (over a permanent job in another company say) was to give myself an opportunity to work with my wife more closely. Compared to the venture I was involved in prior, my current efforts have been a big improvement on that dimension. That said, it is also still a work in progress. In part, it has to do with our varying areas of expertise. But it also has to do with timing and getting the professional clocks to sync up.

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