Thoughts on Entrepreneurship

Alan Weiss says you need 3 things to succeed in business:

– be competent in the market

– for there to be a market need

– be passionate about the market

I think these three things are critical.  When I talk with entrepreneurs who are having problems, invariably one or two of these are missing.  And when I look at the things I’ve done that haven’t worked, its due to the same reason.

I’ll add one more thing:  you need to have absolute focus on what you’re doing.  As an example, google generally has focus, Yahoo does not.  Bill Gross from Idealab didn’t have focus; he spawned lots of fascinating business models, including what would become the revenue model for Google and yahoo, but didn’t focus on it, so he couldn’t take advantage of it.

I’m skeptical of guys who are running unfocused business models.  So even though I hear great things, I’m very curious to see if Ken Chan and Next Internet can really deliver.  I suspect they will end up overworked and stressed and have a lot of businesses which end up not being as great as they hoped.  Ken is effectively running an incubator with 6-8 companies simultaneously.  Ken is a nice guy and I talk to him quite often.  So I definitely look forward to being proven wrong!

The problem is that new value only surfaces for a short time.  Several entrepreneurs are likely working on the same problem at the same time.  If you don’t have the right combination of competence/market need/passion/focus, one of the other guys will overtake you, you can’t do it with a team of employees, no matter how well they are compensated.  The entrenpreneurs spark is critical.