Epitaph for an Entrepreneur
Raising our kids and being an entrepreneur wasn’t easy. Being in a startup and having a successful relationship and family was very hard work. But entrepreneurs can be great spouses and parents.
This post is not advice, nor is it recommendation of what you should do, it’s simply what my wife and I did to raise our kids in the middle of starting multiple companies. Our circumstances were unique and your mileage will vary. Read the previous post first for context.
One of an entrepreneur’s greatest strengths is their relentless pursuit of a goal. But few realize how this differs from most of the population. Watching others try to solve problems reminded me why entrepreneurs are different.
Incentives and Legends
Entrepreneurs and the early startup team all need to be motivated by a shared vision, passion and desire to build a large company. Yet it’s the company legends that live on.
Rocket Science, our little startup was less than a year-old. We had been busy assembling our team and had just hired the last member of our exec staff. We had also just closed our Series B financing with a major overseas partner. The financing felt like a real validation of our strategy. In truth, it was only proof that our reality distortion field worked in Asia as well.
One of the hardest problems for engineers in founding roles in a startup is interacting with customers up close and personal. Over the years I’ve found the best way to learn to do this is by emulating empathy.
I usually hear the “Should I get my MBA?” question at least once a month.
If you’re an entrepreneur, the glib answer is “no.” It’s also the wrong answer.
My two daughters are now in college and have put their toes in the working-world with summer jobs. As they’ve grown older, they’ve heard their parent’s advice about women in the workforce.
This post is not advice nor is it a recommendation of what you should do. It’s simply my interpretation of what I observed watching my daughters grow up. Our circumstances were unique, times have changed, and your conclusions and opinions will most certainly differ.
Too Young to Know It Can’t be Done
Ask people what makes entrepreneurs successful and you’ll hear a familiar list of adjectives; agile, tenacious, resilient, opportunistic, etc.
What you don’t hear is that often they didn’t know any better.
Out of the mouths of babes. Maybe because it’s a company town and everyone in Silicon Valley has a family connection to entrepreneurship. Or maybe I just encountered the most entrepreneurial 12 year olds ever assembled under one roof. Or maybe we’re now teaching entrepreneurial thinking in middle schools. Either way I had an astounding evening as one of the judges at the Girls Middle School 7th grade Entrepreneurial night.
A Visitors Guide to Silicon Valley
If you’re a visiting dignitary whose country has a Gross National Product equal to or greater than the State of California, your visit to Silicon Valley consists of a lunch/dinner with some combination of the founders of Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter and several brand name venture capitalists. If you have time, the President of Stanford will throw in a tour, and then you can drive by Intel or some Clean Tech firm for a photo opstanding in front of an impressive looking piece of equipment.
Over the last decade we assumed that once we found repeatable methodologies (Agile and Customer Development, Business Model Design) to build early stage ventures, entrepreneurship would become a “science,” and anyone could do it.
I’m beginning to suspect this assumption may be wrong.
Startup Resources Repository
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