This afternoon I was over at Greylock Ventures where they had pulled 4 food trucks into the parking lot and invited their friends (thanks Brendan Baker!). As I ate Josh Elman‘s lobster roll (take that for going to London!) I got to talk to a bunch of entrepreneurs, investors and the like.
I was excited to hear how many of them had read my post on the essence of the entrepreneur and wanted to chat about it. Not surprisingly, the topic of how to discover an entrepreneur is a hot one. VCs are constantly trying to pattern match against what a “great” entrepreneur is, and founders, regardless of how much they view being a CEO as skipping through the daisies, are constantly asking themselves if they are true entrepreneurs. (Yes, I know “you,” White Whale, are the one founder than never questions your ability as an entrepreneur.)
As the conversation grew and morphed around the key characteristics of an entrepreneur, it seemed that we kept coming back to a common topic:
If there is an opportunity to cheat, an entrepreneur will take it.
Now hold on. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. While the assumption is that the cheater is someone who does it for personal gain, it was clear that in the case of an entrepreneur, the idea is the beneficiary.
It is clear that a true entrepreneur looks at a situation with a set of rules, and asks himself “how can I break these rules?” And then proceeds to do just that. Rules are there to provide guidance, not to provide control.
So we cheat. And we cheat always. And because cheating has a negative connotation, we call it hacking. And, boy, do we hack. Everything.
Sounds simple, but it’s a unique mindset to assume that there is always a better way and that the powers that be haven’t thought of it yet. That it’s the responsibility of the entrepreneur to determine the best outcome and ensure that it is achieved.
And what happens if you get caught? No big deal, hack the consequence.