…because some thoughts are worth remembering
There are questions I loathe because they force you to categorize yourself or a concept, which often result in restriction of further action than experimentation and exploration. One such question is “Are you an entrepreneur?” or its variation “Do you think I’m an entrepreneur?”
My response normally is “Do you or want to strive to be best or first at something?”
Children are not intimidated by these superlatives, just as they feel confident walking into a museum ready to embrace and experience whatever painting or sculpture displayed before them.
Loosely stated (for the purpose of this blogpost), Zipf’s Law describes a distribution of data where the top entry in the rankings often win by a huge margin compared to the runner-up and the rest. Seth Godin gives the following example in his book, The Dip: Vanilla ice cream is the most popular flavor, and it’s 4 times more popular than the next popular flavor. So it pays to be the best in something.
We’ve grown to lose some of that self-confidence as a kid. But we can trick our minds into aiming for the best. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert comic strip, didn’t see himself as the best artist growing up. But he realized he was decent at drawing. He wasn’t the funniest guy, but he knew he had a good sense of humor. He didn’t think he was the sharpest techie, but he was competent and had insights into the world of IT and its corporate culture. Combine those 3 non-best traits, and voilà! You can be the best qualified person to be creating a humorous comic strip based on the IT industry.
I overheard a child at Sean Scully’s exhibition of his Wall of Lights series. Still hanging onto his mother’s hand, he uttered, “But I can paint that.” Among many objections to his innocent reaction, was a voice I had to keep to myself: “But you didn’t!” (not that I believed he could paint “that” which was a result of careful study of light and layers of colors that transcended the wall). Ideas are cheap. Implementation is gold.
So, in conclusion:
Entrepreneurship: strive to be the best in something (even if it has many qualifiers), and whatever the idea, and do it!