luni, 6 decembrie 2010

Proprietatea cuvintelor

Pentru ca tot am vorbit de antreprenoriat in ultimul timp am gasit un articol care domoleste verva multora. Nu esti antreprenor daca ai o idee si vrei tu sa fii antreprenor. Nu esti antreprenor daca lucrezi la un angajator (sorry to say it). Si capacitatea ta de a te expune la risc nu face din tine un Harap Alb.

I am officially taking the word “entrepreneur” away from you.

In the sublime and ever-so-fitting phrasing of Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Over the past few years, more than a few of you have irresponsibly commandeered the term “entrepreneur” and used it in wholly inappropriate situations. It’s as though you’re afraid to say something simple, such as “I’m working on an idea,” or “I’ve got a side project,” instead announcing to the world, “I’m an entrepreneur!”

Making a sandwich does not make you a chef. Babysitting does not make you a parent. Changing your girlfriend’s oil does not make you a mechanic.

If you have no capital, no employees, and no product, but you DO have another job working for someone else (or if you’re a full-time college student), you’re not an entrepreneur.

I’ve worked for entrepreneurs quite a bit over the past 12 years. They’re hustlers, jugglers, madmen, egomaniacs, people who desperately attempt to build empires on little money and less time. I would never want to be one, but if you want to, more power to you. But here’s the thing: Those entrepreneurs go through hell to do what they do. You can’t take their title and apply it to yourself just because you want to belong to that club.

Jean-Baptiste Say is the French economist who is credited with creating this poor, abused word a couple hundred years ago. According to Say, an entrepreneur is “one who undertakes an enterprise… acting as intermediary between capital and labor.”

“Undertakes an enterprise.” That’s setting yourself up as the performer of the task at hand, a.k.a. running a business. “Acting as an intermediary between capital and labour.” That means you took someone’s money — generally, startup money in a round of funding, something significant enough to have to report to the government — and you’re using that money to build a product with other people. You’re not the capital per se, and you’re not the labor per se; the entrepreneur is the idea-man and the intermediary.

Let’s do a couple lists. People like lists.

Things that, in some combination, qualify as “enterprise, capital, and labor” and make you an entrepreneur:

  • You have a legally recognized company with a name and maybe an office.

  • You have a staff.

  • Someone (customers or VCs/angels) gave you money for your idea (or you’re actively trying to get money from customers/angles/VCs).

  • You have a business plan. Written down. With honest-to-god numbers on it.

  • You have or are actively building a product that others will use.

  • You are assuming a huge risk (financial, career, personal if you’re employing or taking money from friends or family) and are ultimately solely responsible for the success or failure of your business.

    Things that are cool but that don’t necessarily, in and of themselves make you an entrepreneur:

  • You work a lot.

  • You take risks.

  • You have an idea.

  • You’re not employed by someone else (or you’re underemployed).

  • You’re tinkering with a project when you have time for it.

  • You advise or give money to people with businesses of their own.

  • You have connections and influence in your market.

  • You drew up articles of incorporation or have an LLP/LLC.

  • You have a website.

  • You have an app.

  • You have a business card that says you’re the CEO/founder.

  • You want to be an entrepreneur.

Let me make it perfectly clear: There is nothing wrong with having an idea, working on a side project, or wanting to be an entrepreneur.

There is something wrong for posing as something you’re not.

If you’re not an entrepreneur, you might be:

  • Designing a new product.

  • Developing a new idea.

  • Looking for funding.

  • Looking for a partner/co-founder/developer/CEO.

  • Working on an app.

  • Working on a side project.

All of these things are awesome, and they’re the first step on the path to becoming an entrepreneur.

If you’ve been calling yourself an entrepreneur and are offended by this post because you don’t meet my (or some French economist’s) definition of an entrepreneur, don’t get pissy with me (or the French economist). It’s a complete waste of time.

Get back on the path, keep working on your ideas and projects, get funding, quit your day job, and be an entrepreneur.

I wish you the best of success and look forward to hearing about your company and products.

joi, 2 decembrie 2010

E greu sa gasesti un mix bun

Nu am mai avut timp sa scriu pe blog, mea culpa! Dar trecem la subiect.
In ultimul timp am avut oportunitatea, sansa, marea onoare si privilgiul sa lucrez alaturi de Cristi Manafu, o persoana care da 95% din ce are. In 5% mai si doarme...
Am fost implicata in proiectul si am luat interviuri la majoritatea antreprenorilor care apar pe site. Acum pe bune, cine mai are o astfel de sansa (inafara de Cristi). Am vorbit cu oameni care din doua propozitii iti ridica moralul si te faceau sa crezi ca totul e posibil, ca nu exista "nu", sunt mereu solutii, doar problema trebuie enuntata corect. Oameni modesti, cu bun simt, dar care isi recunoasteau meritele. Absolut toti cei pe care i-am intervievat m-au uimit prin ceva aparte: Orlando Nicoara prin prestanta, Dragos Manac prin eleganta, Florin Grozea prin profesionalism, Dorin Boerescu prin cunostinte, Alex Ghise prin putere, Alex Lapusan prin hotarare, Marius Ghenea prin inteligenta, George Lemnaru prin dedicare si Vlad Stan prin energie. Cand timp de doua saptamani ai un coktail din toate cele de mai sus, vrei sa ceri mai mult de la tine, iti spui ca a sta seara pe youtube nu e relaxare ci e pierdere de timp. Ajungi sa fii in competitie cu tine, tu fiind singurul judecator iar eu sunt unul extrem de critic (prietenii stiu).
NetCamp pentru mine este agonie si extaz. Life is a pitch a fost un teasing in acest sens. Astept momentul in care voi trai gustul coktailului insa ma uit cu teama spre momentul in care, dupa NetCamp, partile componente se vor risipi... pentru mine. Dar sper ca eu sa raman totusi in ritmurile antreprenoriatului. Altfel, mai devreme sau mai tarziu o sa ma dau cu capul de pereti!

Vlad Stan (Life is a pitch) from ReFresh.Ro on Vimeo.

Dragos Roua (Life is a pitch) from ReFresh.Ro on Vimeo.