Anthony (Tony) Tjan is the founder/ CEO of Cue Ball, a a venture and early growth
equity firm investing in the information media and consumer sectorswrote a recent blog entry for the HBR.com site called Great Entrepreneurs’ Secret: Smarts, Guts, and Luck. On the surface those are three secrets we’ve heard before, but I like some of the lines he has. I pulled some out:
The best self-made entrepreneurs possess outstanding street smarts, intuition, emotional and conceptual intelligence
as much as–and often more so than–book smarts, analytics, and
managerial intelligence. It is why founders are usually very good
getting companies to a certain level, but usually less good at scaling
their idea. The CEO who scales a company probably did could not have
founded the business and, vice versa, the person who founded it
probably could not have scaled it. The exceptions of Michael Dell,
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Howard Schultz are just that: exceptions.
They possessed the rare capability to bridge across the analytical and the creative,
across the left and the right side of the brain. For our early stage
investments, I am biased toward the right side- the more creative,
conceptual and street smarts. “Visionary Skills 101”, just does not
seem to be on many MBA curriculums.
Great entrepreneurs have the guts to go after big ideas. They are
willing to put themselves out there when most worry about, “What will
others think?” The definition of entrepreneurship that Harvard Business School Professor Bill Sahlman made
prolific- “the relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to
resources” forms the center of the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs don’t worry about the resources they lack, but about the resourcefulness required to get the big idea done.
Recognizing that luck is part of the success formula helps maintain the
necessary and important humility during the entrepreneurial journey and
beyond. Circumstances beyond one’s control will always occur. Accepting
this vulnerability and understanding that sometimes you just need the
cards dealt in your favor is necessary to maintain the conviction,
courage, and momentum of entrepreneurial enterprises.
Working Thought 3/18/08
A Brief Answer as to “Yes” and “No”