What makes entrepreneurs great? And where are they made?

Original author: Bob Dorf
  • Transfer
We are publishing a translation of a short note by Bob Dorf, a serial entrepreneur, co-author of the book “Startup. Founders Handbook ”and author of the“ Customer Development ”method, as well as Dean of GVA LaunchGurus. In his note, Bob answers some of the most private questions he is asked.


What, in your opinion, is the main problem of establishing an entrepreneurial ecosystem?
As with many emerging markets, the biggest challenge is finding business models and mentors - experienced people who have already experienced successes and failures in startups, and who are willing to teach others not from textbooks or even from our “Startup Founder Handbook” but based on real, sometimes painful, experience. And there are few business models: there are few successful companies or entrepreneurs that you can copy, from whom you can learn, with whom you can compete. Other key factors are also standard: there are too few investors who have enough desire or knowledge to risk investing in companies in the early stages of development, when the results can exceed all expectations, but the risk of failure is not 50, or even 60%, but 93% or even 95%, or maybe more, if you are counting on unprecedented incomes.

What distinguishes American entrepreneurs from entrepreneurs in emerging markets?
Firstly, there are many successful entrepreneurs in the United States, so it’s easier to find them, you can read about them everywhere, they can be admired as heroes. But more importantly, the level of engineering and computer science education in the United States is probably much higher than in developing countries. Professors from top schools in emerging economies usually teach programming languages ​​either "how to be a cool IT leader," or "how to code in PERL." At Stanford, the best American educational institution, for example, is taught “Big Data Technology Development Strategies,” creative thinking, abstract futuristic software visualizations, and development skills that are not understood in most developing countries. And the brightest minds who often write dissertations learn from them. And these students are overly motivated they work 24 hours a day and on weekends to become the best at Stanford. Here is a role model for a truly great innovator or entrepreneur.

Guess - in what area is the next sensation expected?
I hate this question. I usually give in response a project in which ONLY the bright minds of venture funds invested funds. As a rule, first I look at what the Sequoia Foundation does, then Union Square Ventures, and then Kleiner Perkins. Recently, all of them have been closely following the “Internet of things” (as well as anyone who can explain what it is), the training of cars, the cars with network capabilities, and all sorts of secret tricks about them, being smart people, do not apply to their sites.

How do you motivate yourself?
This was never a problem for me, with the exception of the only case in 1989 when I sold my first company to one asshole who was suddenly promoted from a merger to the director and my boss.
If I take up something, I work tirelessly, almost without interruption, so that in case of failure, the failure was not caused by the fact that Bob Dorf did not put his soul into the project.

What can you advise to young entrepreneurs?
Work in a startup for six months or even a year before even thinking about launching your project. It is important to understand what sacrifices will be required of you, how tense the situation will be, how much stress and insecurity awaits you tomorrow. Startups are now too popular and they are often chosen as an option for career development, although 90% of people employed in startups would prefer stable work with all sorts of benefits and automatically calculated salaries. This is a very difficult path, which I personally would not exchange for any other. But, if I'm not mistaken, the researchers calculated that only 2 out of 1000 people have the qualities necessary for truly talented entrepreneurs, and this is not the same as successful entrepreneurs - people with energy, passion, perseverance and assertiveness,

If you would invite people to your next startup, who would it be and what qualities would you pay attention to?
I would invite people like Alex Stanton. Alex came to my first company when the project was five years old, and he was 26. From the first day, he treated the company as his own, always worked very hard, kept asking what else he could do, always being smart and always put the interests of the company above their own. At first he was paid $ 200 a week, and he left the company, already renamed Dorf & Stanton (Dorf and Stanton) with a tidy sum of millions of dollars, and he earned every cent.


At the end, we suggest you look at the recording of a Business Breakfast with Bob Dorf from Moscow, which will be interesting to novice entrepreneurs:

Also popular now: