Since I’ve quit my job for entrepreneurship, I’ve come into contact with many entrepreneurs (at conferences, meetups, meetings, in tech blogs, etc).
Internally, I’ve begun to categorize entrepreneurs based upon how often they assume four identities. It has been a helpful way for me to mentally differentiate between what people do, and how serious I should take them.
Here are the four identities that entrepreneurs may assume.
Entrepreneurs may dream about quitting their job, starting something, and changing the world. This is aspirational, and can be highly motivational, but isn’t practically interesting until it turns into action.
A more valuable form of dreaming is to have vision. It involves the ability to dream up something to create, as well as dream up an alternate reality with their creation in it.
All startups are difficult and involve a lot of work. The difference in startups is in the value they bring to the world, and having the vision to understand this value in the early stages of a startup is very interesting as well as valuable. Still, similar to the aspirational dreaming, having vision also doesn’t matter unless it turns into action.
The easiest thing to do beyond dream is to talk. That is why there are a lot of talkers.
There is an entire range here, from small-time talkers to big-time talkers.
Small-time talkers may include the aspirational dreamers. You find them at parties and at meetups talking away at what they’d like to see in the world. For the most part, these people are harmless, although not particularly interesting.
Small- to medium-time talkers may involve people doing stuff, but haven’t quite made it. Or people that have done stuff, but just happen not to be huge promoters. Some of these people can be quite interesting, usually because they are doing something that is interesting.
The big-time talkers can pretty much find a way to make a career out of talking. They find a way to gain a large following, and make their thoughts and opinions heard. Usually, this also involves being a writer (the next identity).
A key way to differentiate between big-time talkers is to look at how much they promote themselves versus how much they give.
Promoters aren’t interesting. They have found a way to gather a huge blog following, Twitter following, etc. without providing much value (there are lots of tricks you can play here). On the other hand, givers are very valuable. They talk a lot, but their words carry weight and impart wisdom.
The difference between promoters and givers usually boils down to experience. Givers have done stuff, and they speak because they have a background to speak from.
Writers are talkers that have put their words down on paper (or blogs).
There is one key difference with writers though. Writing is an act of doing. It involves creating (hopefully) interesting thoughts and translating them to a product of written word. This is one of the big reasons I encourage all entrepreneurs to blog; blogging is a form of creation, and the job of an entrepreneur is to create things of value.
As with talkers, there are small-time and big-time writers. And there are promoters versus givers who are usually differentiated by their experience doing shit.
Finally, we get to the doers. This involves the act of getting shit done.
One way to differentiate doers is by depth. There are dabblers, and there are people who can focus and make significant progress on something. Dabblers aren’t interesting. People who can focus are.
Another way to differentiate between doers is how much they have done. More is usually better. At the very least, doing builds experience.
The best way to differentiate doers is in the value they have created. This is more dicey. It is easy to create stuff. Creating value is a whole different beast, and much more difficult.
The most interesting doers are the ones who have gotten shit done, and created real value.
‘Judge’ is a harsh word, but honestly, we all do it.
I meet entrepreneurs, and categorize them based upon how much they dream, talk, write, and then do.
Many entrepreneurs do all four. I sure do. But how much do they do each of these four?
Dreaming, talking, and writing are all fine, but the dominant factor is doing.
The best way to judge entrepreneurs is simply by how much they are doing, and how much value they have created as a result. I’ve been writing a lot recently, but certainly judge myself this way.
P.S. This is post number #23 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!
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