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Are You An Entrepreneur?

I read a great post recently by Anthony Tjan entitled Entrepreneurial DNA: Do You Have It? on the Harvard Business blog.

In the article, Mr. Tjan argues that entrepreneurs have a distinct profile that is obvious to those familiar with it.  He says,

"Entrepreneurs hold an idealism and risk profile that makes them fundamentally different. They don't think about security--in fact they are often uncomfortable with it. And they have the guts to bet it over and over again. They think less about what they lack and more about what they can achieve with what they have. In a sea of ambiguity, they forge ahead with an incredible fortitude."

It's an interesting read and good food for thought for any physician considering entrepreneurship as a career.

Reader Comments (4)

Accidental Entrepreneur
I was struck by Tjan's assertion that "Entrepreneurship is rarely a planned journey" I couldn't agree more. The desire to create, create something which solves a problem, create something which is wonderful, something that has intrinsic value leads one to suddenly, and unexpectedly come upon an idea. Having the courage to act helps. (Maybe a foolish naiveté that one will be successful in creating the new entity helps lubricate the process!) So the wonderful, messy process of creation and intrinsic satisfaction motivates. It also leads one down a poorly charted path filled with new adventures.

Thanks for the feedback, Sarah. I agree completely. The best entrepreneurs I know have an intrinsic compulsion that pours out of them. "Entrepreneur" isn't a job title they strive to have, it's something they are and comes out in multiple ways over the course of their careers.

On the other hand, too much is made, I think of "entrepreneurial personalities". My experience in teaching and helping students and those who are trying to commercialize their ideas is that entrepreneurs come in all sizes and shapes. To me the biggest attributes have to do with developing the skills to do risk assessment and analysis, spotting opportunity, dealing with ambiguity, perseverance, and learning from mistakes.

I absolutely agree with Dr. Meyers, especially around dealing with ambiguity. 'How do you deal with ambiguity?", is one of the questions that I ask every hire that's going to be working in a startup. If you' can't deal with ambiguity, stick with your day job.

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