Category: Entrepreneurship

Dealing with Differences… in a Tent

I just returned from a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains where my friend from Duke and I camped for 4 days in the gracious mountains of Tennessee. No internet, no cell phone, and sadly, no showers. Of course aside from roasting marshmallows and hiking, there were some strong learning moments.

After spending 96 hours straight with this friend, we realized that we had quite a bit of conflicts in our value systems. Bluntly, I thought a lot of what he did was absolutely ridiculous, and he felt the same way about me. We each wanted the other to conform and do things “my way.”

After some arguing, I learned a very important lesson: what you think may make perfect sense in your mind, but someone else will look at it completely differently. While we may truly believe that our way is the right way, it is ineffective to tirelessly argue with others to change their ways. In fact, it just upsets and insults them.

Instead, I found it was much more effective to simply respect each others differences. Compromising and trying new things is a must, and doing so confirms what a person’s true passions and values are. We each watched and listened to each other, ultimately taking away new perspectives. In doing something like this, some people may end up adjusting their values by their own choice based on observations – this is the key!

Bottom Line:

Everyday, we encounter differences in values, principles and passions. Instead of always arguing with people to change, it is so much more effective to respect each others differences, learn from them and ultimately grow from understanding them.

Creative Populism

While studying Markets & Management at Duke University (more info on that later), I learned a bit about the Creative Populist movement and the concepts behind being creatively entrepreneurial. The big ideas are:

Complexity – looking at a problem from multiple angles and devising a creative solution to get around that problem.

Creating Advantage – does anyone want to be taken advantage of? No. Creating advantage implies a mutual benefit and adding value for all.

Being a deviant – in this case, it’s a good thing! Go against the grain, challenge the status quo. This is the essence of entrepreneurship.

The Market will never be more generous with you than you are with the market.

Be Generous, Be Enthusiastic, Be Humble, Be Playful. Intentionally acting on these characteristics broadens perspective and creates new opportunities.

Vegas + Business?

I recently completed my first trip to Las Vegas, NV for the National Association of Broadcasters annual trade show with my co-op company, Digitalsmiths. Being a few months shy of 21, I couldn’t sit down at any of the poker tables or purchase alcohol, but I did get to make quite a few observations…

  • Vegas might easily be the most bizarre, most ridiculous place ever.
  • There is no sense of time – no clocks. 6am and 3pm are the same.
  • Food is expensive. Like, really expensive. $7.50 for a bagel and egg.
  • Everything is sexualized. Billboards, street “cards”, game dealers, etc.
  • Everyone seems to be smoking. Inside.
  • Alcohol flows everywhere… it is the fuel that keeps everyone going.

Slot Machines

Adults sit in front of these big boxes with flashing lights. The adults stick their money into the machine. Their money goes away. The adult then proceeds to stick more money into the machine, and then that money disappears as well. This process continues.

Bottom Line

There is a distinct culture in Vegas, and that is the party culture. It works great for many people, but it has never been the right fit for me. It isn’t the kind of place that is conducive to creating amazing innovations in technology. This ties in with company culture, and is a topic I will be expanding on frequently.

Entrepreneurs & Hackers

In many ways, entrepreneur and hacker mean the same thing. Entrepreneurs create advantage from situations and innovate to build value. They go around obstacles to figure out solutions to getting where they want to be. When I think of the leaders that I strive to work with, people with the “hacker” mentality rise to the top.