Do you remember when “entrepreneur” was a dirty word? Movies and TV shows portrayed entrepreneurs as schemers and scoundrels. They were the butt of jokes and always asking their families for more money to fund their latest venture. Entrepreneurs were far from revered, but all that has changed.
Now, entrepreneurs are seen as the saviors of the economy. Job creators. Innovators. Visionaries. Take a look at Richard Branson’s latest article on LinkedIn titled “The Misconceptions of Entrepreneurship.”
Branson’s opinion, which coincides with my own personal view of entrepreneurs, is that entrepreneurs are not in it purely for the money (at least the successful ones aren’t). “The entrepreneurs who succeed usually want to make a difference to people’s lives, not just their own bank balances. The desire to change things for the better is the motivation for taking risks and pursuing seemingly impossible business ideas.”
Yesterday, Elon Musk, most notably known for founding Tesla Motors and SpaceX, shared his plans for his futuristic vision of public transportation. His “Hyperloop” rail system would change the way we travel between cities. While his vision is technically possible, he’s going to have an uphill battle convincing people to give it a shot, mainly because “we’ve never done it that way before.”
Entrepreneurs think differently. We see possibilities, not limitations. We constantly question and challenge the status quo. We’re not happy with the way things are; we believe they can always be better. I think this difference in worldview is why entrepreneurs have been the butt of jokes for so long.
When people don’t understand or don’t agree, the easiest response is to laugh and make fun. It’s human nature to trivialize what we don’t understand to make ourselves feel smarter; to relieve the stress of not knowing.
However, thanks to the tech world and the fame and fortune that has followed famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and others, the word “entrepreneur” has taken on a whole new light.
Welcome to the age of the bold thinker! The age of the visionary! The age of the risk taker! The age of the nerd sitting behind a computer, changing the world!
Welcome to the age of the ENTREPRENEUR!
(Who’s laughing now?)