Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 15th, 2017

Only 12 words to define Entrepreneurship?

BILL MURPHY JR updated on April 24, 2014

There’s a definition of entrepreneurship that has changed how I think about the way people choose their paths in life. It helped me to build a thriving business and find all kinds of great new experiences. Heck, it even helped me to meet my wife.

I believe it can have the same kind of positive impact for you, if you’re willing to try to put it into practice:

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.

That’s the 12-word definition of entrepreneurship that they teach at Harvard Business School.

I first read it while researching my 2010 book, The Intelligent Entrepreneur

I remember staring at it on the page and feeling like a boy noticing girls for the first time: There’s something really interesting here, but I know there’s a lot more to it than I currently understand.

I’d like to break the definition down for you, because it not only gives insight into why people like you are so drawn to the idea of starting and building something, it will also improve the likelihood that you’ll be successful.

(As a quick aside, seeing that definition in another of my books is what originally led me to meet Inc.’s editor-in-chief, Eric Schurenberg. A column he wrote about it became the most-read article in the history of at that time.)

1. “Entrepreneurship…”

Let’s start with the word itself: Entrepreneurship. A noun with few true synonyms. (that lack of real synonyms can be a real pain in the neck.) It’s not simply a matter of being a boss or a leader or owning a business. In fact, there’s nothing intrinsic at all in this definition about business, or risk, or even making money. It’s something different–a way of looking at the world.

2. “…is the pursuit of opportunity…”

There are two key words here: pursuit and opportunity.

“Pursuit” means there has to be action involved (hence, my reader-inspired decision this year to change the name of my column to Action Required). You have to have impact; you have to try to change something. Simply thinking about an idea doesn’t cut it, and neither does coasting along doing what you’ve always done.

Similarly, a true entrepreneur is always pursuing “opportunity.” That means something new, bigger, nicer, better, smarter, more useful.

it often also means pursuing the most amazing, appealing, enticing opportunities you can find.

Here’s where we really start to differentiate true entrepreneurs from everyone else.

There are a lot of good people out there running very nice businesses. However, if they’re not chasing new opportunities–if they’re coasting along, doing what they’ve always done–then maybe they’ve given up the mantle of true entrepreneurship.

3. “…without regard to resources currently controlled.”

This might just be my favorite phrase in the world. I suppose if Harvard Business School had wanted to make the definition more accessible, they could have said “regardless of” instead of “without regard to,” but no matter.

“Without regard to resources currently controlled” means it doesn’t matter how little you have at the start. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have money, or that you don’t have all the required skills, or that you don’t have a team to help you.

At the very beginning especially, reach for the stars. Don’t let the opportunities you pursue be limited by the assets you currently have. Instead, let the attractiveness of the opportunity serve as your guide.

There are so many implications of this part of the definition.

For one thing, while capital is a necessary ingredient, the truth is that all of those would-be entrepreneurs out there who blame a lack of money for their inability to get started are playing the wrong game.

there’s an advantage to not having money at the start, because that scarcity forces you to be more resourceful. It means you have to sell your ideas to others–a possibly painful exercise, but one that pays huge dividends in the long run.

Here’s the bottom line: For just about any decision you have to make in life, there are two ways to make choices.

Most people choose the first method of decision making. They look at the array of options that seem reasonably attainable, and then pick the best one. They choose a career because it’s what their parents advised, or because there are jobs available. They live somewhere because it’s what they’re familiar with. They surround themselves with the kinds of people they’ve always known.

The true entrepreneur, however, sees things differently.

Instead of choosing the best available option, he or she thinks big, and tries to identify the best possible solution, regardless of whether it seems completely implausible and unattainable. Then, he or she gets to work, trying to make that impossible dream a reality.

If you choose the first path, you might save yourself a lot of heartache, and a lot of ups and downs on the roller coaster of life. However, you also run a greater risk of achieving your goals only to find you didn’t push yourself enough. Which path will you choose?

BILL MURPHY JR. is a journalist, ghostwriter, and entrepreneur. He is the author ofBreakthrough Entrepreneurship (with Jon Burgstone) and is a former reporter for The Washington Post. @BillMurphyJr


  • Judy Woodruff:

    In South Africa in recent weeks, protests have once again erupted on campuses across the country.

    The demonstrations, known as Fees Must Fall, aimed at reducing tuition costs, stem from the painful history of apartheid.

    And just as in the disputes here over Confederate monuments, the symbols of South Africa’s past are being fought over today.

    Jeffrey Brown was recently in South Africa for his ongoing series Culture at Risk.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    High above Cape Town at the Southern Tip of Africa, a stately memorial to Cecil John Rhodes, the British-born 19th century diamond magnate and colonial conqueror.

    But notice the bust of Rhodes. His nose has been hacked off.

    It was on the nearby campus of the prestigious University of Cape Town, with a historically white majority student body, that protests over another prominent statue of Rhodes set off a national debate in South Africa two years ago, when student activists started what became known as the Rhodes Must Fall movement.

  • Chumani Maxwele:

    The Rhodes monument is a practical symbol of the oppression of black people. At the end of the day, we are saying, we are not happy to just be at the university, while our sisters and brothers are still in squatter camps.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Chumani Maxwele, one of the protest leaders, recently accompanied us to an informal settlement in the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha, just a short drive from campus.

    He pointed to the disparities that make South Africa one of the world’s most unequal societies.

  • Chumani Maxwele:

    You won’t see white kids like this, sitting like this. You won’t see that.

    We’re coming from here in the townships. And then we are claiming that we are educated. We must be able to take theory and practice and put it together and see what change we can make.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    The Rhodes statue on campus was eventually removed by the university, but students continue to press on issues of school’s costs and curriculum.

    Alex Gotz was one of 12 students punished by the administration as the protests expanded.

  • Alex Gotz:

    I don’t think we need statues to remind ourselves of what they represent. You can have it in a museum, if need be, but I think there are enough visible effects of apartheid and colonialism to last us a lifetime.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    The head of the university, Max Price, acknowledges more needs to be done to address the remnants of apartheid.

  • Max Price:

    It’s still the case that a black student might say to me: I have never been taught by a black professor at UCT, 22 years after democracy.

    And that’s not something we’re proud of. That’s something we are trying to change.

    Instead of thinking this is an alien place on the hill that reflects empire, start feeling that this is their university, a university that they want to come to, they want to send their children to, and that they’re proud of.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In South Africa today, visual imagery teaches, as at the entrance to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, where visitors are confronted with the history of racial divisions.

    It honors, as in a memorial in Soweto, to Hector Pieterson, a 13-year-old killed by police in the 1976 uprising against apartheid. And it’s also contentious.

  • Alana Bailey:

    There is a lot of polarization between race groups in South Africa.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Alana Bailey manages heritage issues at AfriForum, a civil rights group working on behalf of Afrikaners, the white descendants of predominantly Dutch settlers who arrived here in the 17th century, and who in the 20th century established the apartheid regime that only ended in 1994.

    Bailey now works to protect monuments.

  • Alana Bailey:

    There’s a bit of a dangerous situation that you can create by removing statues, because if you say that anything that memorializes a past contribution by a community is not welcome in the public sphere, then you might also be saying that people who represent that community are not welcome in the public sphere.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In the capital, still widely known as Pretoria, many street names have been changed from the white colonial and apartheid era figures to liberation struggle leaders, mostly black.

    The larger municipality itself is now officially called Tshwane, after an 18th century indigenous chief. And still the most prominent face of the new South Africa, a huge statue of Nelson Mandela stands in front of the official seat of the national government. The statue that previously stood here, of an Afrikaner nationalist leader, was moved to a far corner of the gardens.

    In Church Square in the center of the city, another contentious site is getting a makeover — the monument to 19th century Afrikaner leader Paul Kruger is now surrounded by fencing after being vandalized several times.

    Mayor Solly Msimanga plans to keep the statue, but transform the whole square into a new kind of monument that’s dedicated to free speech.

  • Mayor Solly Msimanga, Tshwane:

    We are advocating that you tell a complete history, not only one side of our history.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    So you are against taking down the old statues?

  • Mayor Solly Msimanga:

    I am against taking down any kind of statue. I’m all for having all statues and using them to tell a part of history. I am not here because a certain part of history didn’t exist.

    I’m here because that history happened. I am sitting in this chair right now because a certain history happened, and I am acknowledging that.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Outside the city, a different kind of accommodation of histories. The huge Voortrekker Monument is dedicated to Afrikaner pioneers who migrated inland in the 19th century, chafing at then-British colonial rule.

    It opened in 1949, just a year after the official onset of apartheid.

    Nearby stands the much newer Freedom Park, a monument erected in the democratic era and dedicated to South Africans of all backgrounds killed in wars, as well as in the liberation struggle against apartheid.

    Last year, directors Cecilia Kruger and Jane Mufamadi strengthened ties between their two adjacent monuments.

  • Jane Mufamadi:

    As in our democracy, we had to compromise. We had to make compromises.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    A lot of people just wonder what a monument is, right, and what’s it for.

  • Jane Mufamadi:

    It’s about the message that you’re sending to the nation through a particular monument. It’s about the lessons that we need to learn and draw from our past, so that we chart a better future and leave a better legacy for our children.

  • Cecilia Kruger:

    All heritage is part of somebody’s identity, somewhere. The minute you understand the monuments and what it symbolizes, you begin to understand each other’s identity.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    A fine hope, but how much difference can a monument make? Those frustrated by a lack of change after the end of apartheid say, not much, when black people are the majority, but mainly remain in segregated poverty.

    Johannesburg-based architecture critic Mpho Matsipa.

  • Mpho Matsipa:

    Reconciliation without justice can only get you so far, and by that, at a very simple level, economic justice or spatial justice.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    So, that’s much bigger than any one monument. You mean like the entire city.

  • Mpho Matsipa:

    The landscape. The landscape of a city like Johannesburg remains, in my mind, a monument to apartheid spatial planning and apartheid spatial thinking.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Just the way it’s laid out, where people live?

  • Mpho Matsipa:

    The way it’s laid out, the way people live, the way that inequality is spatialized and continues to be spatialized in the city serves as a monument to that history.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    In the meantime, student protests have picked up again in recent days, with the Fees Must Fall movement claiming that high tuition puts college attendance beyond the means of many.

    Student activist Chumani Maxwele:

  • Chumani Maxwele:

    If you are giving us free education, we will be able to have cousins, sisters, brothers across and be able to work together because we have got skill. You are educated. You can be employed. That’s the whole essence of the fight.

  • Jeffrey Brown:

    Today, the empty plinth of Cecil Rhodes on the University of Cape Town campus serves as another kind of monument, as a struggle in this young democracy goes on.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown in South Africa.

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 83

Note 1: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains months-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Note 2: If you are Not tri-lingual, you will stumble on Arabic notes, written in Latin characters and with numbers representing vocals Not available in Latin languages.

The Maronite clergy struck a protocol with the Vatican and Israel Not to make a big deal of the fact that Marie and Jesus lived in Qana (Lebanon) and won’t invest in the cave of Qana that sheltered the disciples of Jesus during early persecutions.

If it were Not for the people in south Lebanon, the town of Qana where Marie, her parents and Jesus lived would have been ignored by the Maronite clergy. Israel already bombed this town twice with hundreds of casualties.

In 1996, Israel bombed Qana killing 106 of the Lebanese who took refuge in the UN compound. USA made it impossible for US lawyers to demand compensation.

Pas besoin que les reves se realisent, tant qu’ on persiste a rever et etre capable de se satisfaire de peu

Peut-on aimer sans respecter? En tout cas, les sentiments des femmes sont diverse et trop compliques pour moi.

Penses-tu qu’ il y ait de l’ inflation dans nos reves? Les reves possibles a realiser demandent toujours de l’ aide: L’ inflation vient de notre refus de les communiquer avec acharnement.

Croit -tu que Jane Austen avait cesse de rever a ce stade? (son livre inacheve’)

Un seul cheveux separe le sentiment d’ independence de la betise

“Collateral damages”? A notion invented by USA for its reckless endemic violence. Got to stare at ugly pictures of handicapped soldiers and civilians 

England provided cluster bombs to Israel, 3 days before cease fire in 2006, in order to prevent people from returning home. 10 years later, the UN are still de-mining south Lebanon

US cooks, Europe does the dishes of the devastation that Israel does in Palestine.

Hezbollah fighters are to get ready to liberate our borders from ISIS on their own, again and again, and suffer the flatulent verbal attacks of insignificant political ” leaders”: The permanent delay of the Lebanese army to attack means experiencing the traditional Not to get involved in political position “Al na2i 3an al nafess”

The political system in Lebanon cannot but generate an impotent State, dawleh bila baydaat

Al 3awamiyyeh (Awamiyeh) is a Saudi eastern Shia town (Qateef province) blockaded for 92 days by Saudi army, for demanding equal rights and opportunity.

Etre dorlote’ n’ amene pas a l’ amelioration: Il faut apprendre a regler les reparations et amendements. USA evite depuis un siecle de reapprendre ce principe d’ ethique 

Action is saying it all: rhetoric have their “impotent” masters, leaders for a moment, before they are swept aside by the invisible and mighty power of people willing to face authority figures on equal terms…

The elite classes are never satisfied, except by parting from the crumbs in the usual trickle down economic policies.

The revolution is the act of looking fear in the eyes and getting used to facing the authority figures on equal terms…

The tiny behavior that make me different are what make me.

Start making better choices to improve your happy life: Keep in mind that communication and connection increase your choices. Do your due diligence

How much did you inspire people to improve their life? They will communicate you great accomplishments

Baby steps are the reality of life in all your challenging endeavors: Especially when you set your mind to change your habits

Logic will not change an emotion, but action will: Tailor make your attitudes. Keep giving hope to people you meet

How can a speech, a plan, a policy, a program be coordinated to get the entire people on the street to approve, agree on parts and bits of a declaration of a revolution on the march? One bit to fill the stomach and another bit to remind them of a common national myth.

There is a political and militia “leader” Samir Ja3ja who never missed a fight to kill Lebanese during the civil war. He says he represent the position of the State Not to fight the terrorist ISIS in Lebanon. Yen2e 3an nafsaho

The pressure of being the world’s most decorated Olympian, swimmer Michael Phelps, (22 medals, 18 of them gold) led him to realize that  “I thought of myself as just a swimmer, and nobody else, and You know what? Screw this.

The attribute of an addictive normal person: The harder we resist, the harsher we succumb. Enjoy the game of being born a suckered




November 2017

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