At the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center’s last BizWiz student entrepreneurship meeting, we had a discussion around two questions.
- “If you could hang out with any entrepreneur or leader, who would that be?”
- “Why did you choose that person – what quality do they have that you admire and would want to learn from him or her?”
The entrepreneurs cited were pretty diverse (but tended to be skewed toward gamers and technologists – go figure). Gates and Jobs were the only entrepreneurs cited multiple times. The others included Kevin Rose, the founders of Blizzard, Robert Bowling, Adam Savage, Napoleon Hill, Sam Walton, Leo Laporte, Thomas Edison, Dana White, Esther Dyson, and Michael Arrington.
We ended up with a list of five essential qualities that we felt an entrepreneur should possess. I’ll cover each of those one at a time this week.
Entrepreneur Quality Number 1 – Form and Hold Strong Opinions
We had already gone around the table, and everyone had already given an opinion when Justin of Guild Press suggested he wanted to add another. He suggested Michael Arrington (TechCrunch). The reason he gave at first was that although Michael or his opinions aren’t always particularly liked, Michael had indeed created a hugely successful readership.
As we discussed the “why” in more detail, it became apparent that it wasn’t just the following or readership that was as important as it was Michael’s ability to form and stick to an opinion, regardless of what others around him thought (or in his case, wrote, said, commented, broadcast, or otherwise published about him and/or his opinion).
We decided it deserved to be in the top 5 because without the ability for form a strong opinion, you may never get a venture started to begin with, and without the ability to hold onto that opinion in the face of detractors, you may not keep your venture going in the face of adversity.