Sidestepping reason

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Our inherent creativity and hopefulness – the urge and passion to try new things – are often deemed unreasonable. That is, it is impossible for others to see any point to them or they simply seem too far fetched. This reflects a pervasive genius-vs.-lunatic tension between the retrospective clarity of breakthroughs once they happen and […]

Holding the bag … of uncertainty

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Every entrepreneurial project has a large degree of uncertainty that cannot be eliminated. The inability to foresee not only the outcomes of our actions, but also the consequences of those outcomes, and the meaning of those consequences represents an irreducible tension. The more we commit to one particular unfolding of the events ahead – with […]

Killing innovation softly: grades

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As universities offer more and more entrepreneurship courses in their curricula, their ambition to promote innovative thinking runs against one of the pillars of academic provision, namely the measurement of academic achievement. When its power as a signal of quality is too significant to ignore, it becomes an end in its own right. In the […]

The shackles of human “capital”

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The concept of human capital has a stronghold in entrepreneurship research, as a reflection of the experience and skills entrepreneurs bring to their journey. It originates from economics where it was introduced as a means to measure the returns to years of education and experience. The main assumption behind it is that all years of […]

The void that cannot be filled with reason

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In a dynamic world, companies recognize the imperative of being entrepreneurial, of exploring opportunities outside their comfort zones. But it is not long before this new energy runs against the core organizational forces of reliability and accountability. Entrepreneurial activity needs to deliver foreseeable results, for how else could it be justified? As I explored in […]

From explaining the past to looking into the future

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Great piece in the FT (below) on the mis-use of mathematics in finance. The target of criticism are those who over-fit past data to profess a successful trading strategy for the future. It is not a long shot to extend this to explanations of entrepreneurial performance. To a large degree, we tend to look for […]

Opportunity as friendship

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Entrepreneurship is typically defined as the pursuit of opportunities. But what is an opportunity? Let’s answer this question by trying to construct one. As a basic minimum we need three things: (1) a product or service, (2) one or more agents who consume it, and (3) one or more agents who produce it. But just […]

The illusion of understanding entrepreneurial success

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Whenever successful entrepreneurs are asked for the secrets of their success, it strikes me that their answers inevitably involve one or all of the following: (1) persist, i.e. do not give up; (2) learn from your mistakes; and (3) give the customers what they want. I have always found it troublesome that such advice sounds […]

The Anna Karenina principle in entrepreneurship

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The opening sentence of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina – “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” – has inspired the term “The Anna Karenina” principle. It readily applies to entrepreneurship: Successful entrepreneurs are all alike; every non-successful entrepreneur fails in his or her own way. Success, then, is not […]

Success Is Random, So Court Serendipity

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This article fits very nicely with my earlier posts about success, failure, and Black Swans. Success Is Random, So Court Serendipity http://www.fastcompany.com/3000910/success-random-so-court-serendipity