As anyone who reads my blog can probably figure out by now, I am someone who spends a lot of time thinking, studying and writing about entrepreneurs. Having never worked for anyone, nor gotten a college degree, I am always in search of people who have traveled down a similar path to the one I chose.
Thirty years ago, for entrepreneurs like me, it was a small list to be inspired by. Today, the list is exploding! Thank goodness. Everywhere I look, I see young people and old farts like me taking big risks, following their dreams and trying to change the status quo. As I embark on my second career with a new company, I find the journey so much less lonely. There are so many places to derive inspiration from!
I am often asked what defines an entrepreneur. And, I’m asked almost as frequently, how do you know an entrepreneur when you see one? Despite how often these questions are posed to me, I still struggle with the response, because it’s not very easy to define.
Today, for example, I was speaking with someone who is very involved in teaching and mentoring college kids in an entrepreneurial program at a college close to where I live. She and I got into a really interesting conversation about how best to teach and inspire young entrepreneurs. And, also, what characteristics in particular are important to encourage and fuel in them. In my mind, an entrepreneur is someone who sees an opportunity to do something different and has a unique ability to drown out the naysayers while pursuing that goal in a relentless, focused manner.
To illustrate that point, I came across two videos that I think creatively illustrate what the key characteristics of a successful entrepreneur are.
The first is the famous Apple ad, but it’s the version I love the most (the one that actually never aired, but was narrated by Steve Jobs himself).
The second is a video from a fundraiser from a wonderful charity event that my friend Scott Landis is heavily involved with, in New York City, called The Urban Assembly. It’s an incredible speech from Walter Isaacson, which I think sums it all up beautifully.
I hope you enjoy them both.