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Tuesday
Nov222011

Serial Entrepreneurs  

Serial Entrepreneurs

I've always believed that once you've founded a company, built a business, or initiated a start-up you join an elite group of folks: those who favor action over talk, execution more than strategy, and value initiative rather than relying on talent .

But while some think these people are blessed with gifts the rest of us have to do without, I tend to lean more to the nurture rather than nature side of this argument.

I accept the fact these folks are talented, driven, and even sometimes a little bit "off". But what I find fascinating is the fact that once victory has been tasted so to speak these same talented, driven people often become bored, disinterested, and resentful. That is, until they begin to work on yet another company or project.

Still more interesting is the apparent ease with which they seem to be able to make this work again and again. Success breeds more success it seems. Even when you take everything into account - talent, experience, genius - it still doesn't explain the facts.

Brothers Chip and Dan Heath, authors of  “Made to Stick” and “Switch” have a new collection of articles out in book form and one of those articles addresses this strange quirk. In the “Myth of the Garage” they explain how our society believes entrepreneurs to be lone wolves isolated from others and single minded in their devotion to their current project. But that is not usually the case.

From their article: Two researchers from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkley, Pino Audia and Chris Rider, have debunked the Myth of the Garage in a recent paper. The garage, they say, "evokes the image of the lone individual who relies primarily on his or her extraordinary efforts and talent" to triumph. The reality is that successful founders are usually "organizational products".

A separate study of VC-backed companies found that 91% were related to the founders' prior job experience. Audia and Rider say entrepreneurial triumphs aren't due to lonely, iconoclastic work - they're "eminently social."

Think about it.

What are they saying here?

Could it be that building a successful enterprise is a skill that can be learned? And that who you know, the connections you've made, and the teams you build might just be more important than talent alone?

Could be.

Just in case you need a bit more convincing, take a look at the graphic here courtesy of OkayGeek.

 

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