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Sunday Startup Reads: Passion, Confidence, Pragmatic Anger, Scaling Up

Here are some articles from the ‘net which have caught my eye during the last couple of weeks:

The Misconceptions of Entrepreneurship
Richard Branson  (LinkedIn)

“If you get into entrepreneurship driven by profit, you are a lot more likely to fail. The entrepreneurs who succeed usually want to make a difference to people’s lives, not just their own bank balances. The desire to change things for the better is the motivation for taking risks and pursuing seemingly impossible business ideas.”

Crushing The Impostor Syndrome
“Cassidy”  (Cyclone Life)


Man, I know the feeling of the “Impostor Syndrome”, especially hanging around so many smart people. The reality is that although other people know a lot of stuff, they don’t know the stuff that you do in the way that you do.

Entrepreneurship, AKA ‘pragmatic anger’
Benedict Dellot  (RSA.org)

I find that the most interesting business projects come from “pragmatic anger”. I know my first business was launched that way – a belief that I had a better idea that I was not able to fully develop in my job, so I seized an opportunity to leave so I could have the freedom to make it happen. The most powerful motivation is a “why” that comes from a positive alignment of soul and ego.

Entrepreneurship Policy on Scale-Up, Not Start-Up
Daniel Isenberg  (Harvard Business Review)

It’s easier than ever to “startup” because of the new generation of tools such as Lean and Business Model Canvas, and also because of abundant capital. The real challenge is to reinvent “scaleup”, because the success rate of startups is still way too low.

The Importance of Realism in Startups
Mark Suster  (Both Sides Of The Table and TechCrunch)
and http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/08/fail-week-mark-suster/

Beware of being sucked in by blind optimism. In a world full of startup hype it’s tempting to only show the sunny side. The danger is that you get tempted to pile on too many features, scale too fast, and live beyond your means. Mark Suster’s interview is worth watching to help you keep both feet on the ground as you reach for the stars.

The Allure of Essentialism Distorts Business Writing
Sam McNerney  (Big Think)

“Business books are predicated on the idea that every company has a core identity – its essence – and the job of the business writer is to uncover that identity and excavate those so-called timeless universals. The byproduct is a heavy dose of halos that spawn the illusion of understanding; readers think they’ve captured the intricacies of the company when the opposite is true. To understand the nature of a business, we must discard the fact that such a thing exists.”

How Steve Jobs Turned Technology – And Apple – Into A Religion
Brett T. Robinson   (Wired.com)

Technology has acquired the moral status of a religion because it is about the empowerment of self. Technology is an absolute. There is no turning back. Challenge is acceptable as long as it remains within the confines of the technological order and the implicit assertion that technological evolution is the key enabler of human progress.

Why most of us should refuse unpaid work
Lucy Kellaway   (The Globe and Mail)

The startup ecosystem depends on thousands of hours of volunteer mentors. But is it fair to the mentors? Consultants and service providers are being asked to donate their time, knowledge and experience for free, but it is only the VCs and the entrepreneurs who can profit financially from our efforts ? This is a big problem, and my biggest peeve about Brad Feld’s “Startup Communities”.

The Right Kind Of Happy
(The Economist)

New study shows that happiness derived from service and purpose may lead to better health. [Real entrepreneurs do it not only for they money but also for the eudaimonia.]

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