Continued from Thursday, 9 August
Common sense is a very important attribute to entrepreneurs. Articles written for Entrepreneur.com, Reuters, the New York Times, and studies by universities all investigate the characteristics of those who start a business, develop a market, create an industry, or adapt a technology. While many are not satisfied working for someone else’s vision, it is more difficult for innovators and skilled workers to start out on their own. The latter may be no less motivated to succeed but the risks in starting a business, losing investment, failing, time spent making improvements or tinkering on the next venture often hold the majority back.
Years ago, when I went to work for a small business, I asked the small group who formed that technology business how and why they started. It was a product that they were all experts supporting, and improving, and when the corporation decided there was not enough profit to continue supporting it, these engineers stepped up. The military customers were still actively deploying these systems so, as entrepreneurs, the men formed a company, bought the contract, and networked with the stakeholders. It lead to additional work.
Seeing a market where there was none, and understanding human nature, an entrepreneur is a visionary. As I enter my sixtieth year, I have seen several ideas grabbed by entrepreneurs become world- changing products like the personal computer ( I had interviewed with IBM in 1986 but decided the Navy was more promising than a “personal” computer). Netflix is a huge company today, with an internet distribution network, it’s own productions, and ever-growing valuation. I decided to forego investment in Netflix when it was a buck or two in the early 2000s – because I thought the DVD market would dry up.
Another entrepreneur is Kevin Plank, CEO of UnderArmour. Creating a line of athletic clothing that wicks away moisture, his products have been worn by soldiers, sailors, NFL players, college athletes, and even retired Senior Chiefs. Wearing a UnderArmour shirt with the “I served”, it not only is functional when I am working out but is a statement. After working for an entrepreneur for more than twelve years, I see a lot of value in his vision of the company as an internet services company (satellite) that services seamless connectivity on commercial, business and military aircraft, as well as secure networking systems.
I need to get more serious about my other ventures, particularly marketing. Common sense. Vision. Understanding people. Maybe I should revisit that Tony Robbins interview.