There are a lot of guys and gals talking out there that they are serial entrepreneurs. You know the kind. You meet them at the conferences or during coffee. They founded this company, and that and raised X and Y amount of money. Such talk (especially once it’s over 5 minutes) either makes you jealous or bored. Neither is a good outcome.
It’s even more funny when a 20-something-year-old dude (just like me) has the following in his LinkedIn profile: ‘serial entrepreneur’. I usually have an unconscious reaction to such statements. Something along the lines of: ‘Fuck you!’
So what’s up with this serial entrepreneurship thing? Why is it cooler that just ‘entrepreneur’?
If you think about it, ‘serial entrepreneur’ is a euphemism for ‘my X previous companies fucked up’. It’s kind of like pivot: a euphemism for ‘fuck up’. And I think that smart people get that.
Then, why would you even want to be a serial entrepreneur in the first place? Don’t get me wrong: I am completely fine with a few old U.S. entrepreneurs out there that have built 20–30 companies during their lives (I personally know a couple) and I think it’s completely amazing. But I am not fine with young kids in their twenties talking about their dream of becoming a ‘serial entrepreneur’. Why? It’s just stupid!
First of all, life is too short to become really successful in more than 1 thing. I just don’t believe the ‘live several lives’ thing. You need a lot of time to learn something and especially build something valuable and good. So you have to choose.
Second, being known for a lot of things is the same as being known for none. Your personal brand is being diluted every time you add something new to it. If you want to keep it straight — become well known for 1 thing. It’s better for you, easier for everybody to remember and makes you more satisfied with life. Marcus Aurelius was right: less is more.
And finally, I think it’s really a problem of lack of patience. And ego. Ego and lack of patience are usually positively correlated, and it’s a real problem for young kids these days. We want everything — and want it now. The more — the better. I guess we just have to realize that life is about being happy and satisfied, not rich. And real satisfaction comes from being true to yourself, your Nature (or whatever you want to call it) and doing what you are supposed to.
Smart people don’t want to become serial entrepreneurs. I think it just happens, they fuck up and they start calling themselves that. Like, why not?
Every second millennial on the planet (not sure about the numbers) wants to be an entrepreneur. But what is entrepreneurship, in essence? Nobody has a clear answer. When I started digging, quite recently and making an audit of my personal business life, I realized that it’s mainly 2 things:
1. Networking. Building a network around yourself, making your company known, making useful connections, building your brand.
2. Building an organization by design. Organizations are not built by chance. They are architected and built by design. If you are building something that you want to stand the test of time, you have to focus on the company as your ultimate creation, not your products or services.
We all have 1 thing we really are good at — and it can’t be ‘entrepreneurship’. Entrepreneurship is an art, it’s a mindset, it’s a how, not a what. Once you make entrepreneurship ‘serial’, you turn art into craft. And what happens when you do that? It turns into shit.
Michelangelo said that beauty is not when you have nothing left to add, but when you have nothing left to get rid of. Less is more. More. More beauty. More satisfaction.
So if you want to be an entrepreneur, go be one. Just not cereal.
I mean, serial.
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