On Being An Enterpreneur

This post on Random Thoughts On Being An Enterpreneur got me thinking about my experiences of being an entrepreneur for over 25 years. First of all let me pick my favorite points from the post.

  • Products are idea amplifiers. The molecules and/or bytes are secondary.
  • In terms of becoming an entrepreneur, probably the most useful thing I learned in the last twenty years was how to enjoy my own company for long stretches of time.
  • One successful entrepreneur I know well has a wonderful quality, namely that he never, ever compares himself to other people. He just does his own thing, which actually serves him rather well. Just because his competitor has bought himself a bigger motor boat, doesn’t mean he feels the need have a bigger motor boat. This quality helps him to build his business the way he sees fit, not the way the motor boat people see fit.
  • Running a startup is full of extreme ups and downs. Which is why so many successful and happy entrepreneurs I know lead such normal, stable, unglamorous, “boring”, family-centered lives. Somehow they need the latter in order to balance out the former. Extra-curricular drama looks great in the tabloids, but that’s all it’s ultimately good for.
  • Bill Gates may have a million times more money than me, but he isn’t going to live a million times longer than me, watch a million times more sunsets than me, make love to a million times more women than me, drink a million times more fine wines than me, listen to a million times more Beethoven String Quartets than me, nor sire a million times more children than me. Human beings don’t scale.

None of my companies have been venture funded. So I did not have any of those issues mentioned in the post. As an entrepreneur who always bootstrapped, here are my observations:

  • Don’t jump in if you are not there for the long haul.
  • If you cannot enjoy the journey, don’t get in (the destination may be farther than you think)
  • If you are married, your family will carry a huge chunk of your problems as well. So if you do not have the support of your family (wife, children), you will be miserable
  • If you have to choose between something that you enjoy doing vs something you have to do for money, pick the first.
  • Entrepreneurship is a way of life

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