"There are lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there's only one good, legitimate reason, and ...it's to change the world." - Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote.
The above quote resonates well with me and many like me who were born in in the 60's, 70's and 80's. We as people have this itch to change the world. I am sure others have it too, but let's just say that we have that a tad bit more than the others. We view the world differently from the generation before us, primarily because technological expansion was a part of our growing up process.
While some of us do want to change the world, the truth of the matter is that regardless of what we want, the world is changing. The culture of entrepreneurship is no longer limited to just a few. An article in Entrepreneur.com stated that just to get and continue holding a job, one needs to be entrepreneurial and innovative. In times to come, this will be the only way to survive in the workplace. I believe that this wave of entrepreneurship is hinting at a few things:
• Cost cutting, as most processes can be automated.
• Less reliance on experts.
• Finding our inner truth and doing things that we are meant to do.
Gone are the comfort days of a steady nine to five job with benefits. Corporations and government organizations alike are trimming down on expenditures to stay afloat. Traditional methods of doing business are being challenged every day, competition is rising, and the competitive advantage is plummeting. Listed below are some examples that serve as a testimony to the above statement:
• Uber annihilating public transportation
• Air BnB puzzling hotel chains
• Electronic communication (e-mails) gulping down postal worker jobs
• Expedia and other travel websites eliminating travel agent jobs
• Educational websites challenging traditional education systems of schools and colleges
• Tax software perplexing jobs of accountants
• Netflix throwing off traditional TV
• Online book stores like Amazon taking over dated bookstores
• Job recruiters being displaced by Linked in
While most people are gung-ho about entrepreneurship and technology as the new way of doing business, experienced people think otherwise. They state that technology is not foolproof and the world cannot be fully automated. In their opinion, personal interaction will always trump technology and only a certain segment of the world population will be technology customers.
Still multiple changes are happening in the world economy, each of our careers will most certainly be disrupted at least once, if not more. Hence, every person is looking to build something on the side. Plus, these days entrepreneurship is in vogue for many reasons, some of which are listed below:
• It has the cool element: If you start your own thing, become your own boss, employ staff, raise funding, you must be super special
• Venture capital funding is easier than before
• The risk associated with entrepreneurship is lesser
• Glamor infused success stories makes one wonder if they should give a jab at entrepreneurship
The real question to contemplate then becomes, does one remain an intrapreneur (act of behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization) or become a full fledged entrepreneur that identifies pain points in the society that we live in, and build ecosystems that can sustain to solve problems?
If one opts to be the latter, they must ask themselves the following questions:
• Why do I want to be an entrepreneur? Is it to change the world for better, offer my unique skills to the world, huge financial rewards or all of the above?
• Who will finance the venture?
• If I choose to be an entrepreneur, how will my family and the society react to my decision? Will my initiative be supported, ridiculed or resisted?
• Will I have the time, energy, determination and discipline to go through the motions of the grueling entrepreneurial process?
• Do I personally have risk taking abilities, and if so, what is my threshold?
Once clarity of thought process is achieved, only then should one venture into this terrain. Even though, entrepreneurship has been a buzzword for the last few years, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Some of us can be intrapreneurs. We can infuse productivity into our current jobs. Technology may eat up some jobs but it will most certainly create other jobs. We must remain positive.
Finally, I would like to end with a quote from Richard Branson, "...opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming." Therefore, keep calm being an intrapreneur lifelong but if you find a gap in the market wear your entrepreneurship suit and jump along.