Wednesday, July 21, 2004
I've read the Wall Street Journal off and on for decades, but until today, I never knew they had a startup blog for entrepreneurs.
I've been browsing through it, and I like it.
It has articles and quizzes and resources.
And the quizzes aren't the same standard ones I've found at plenty of other websites.
I usually answer quizzes 2 ways - my way and the way I think they want us to answers.
Thanks to public schooling, I'm rather adept at thinking as testmakers would have me think. Thanks to my friends, family, and innate stubborness, I still think for myself as well. That just means I get 2 scores on quizzes - the "right" one, and mine.
But here, the right answers and my answers converged. I only had to take the little quizz once!
It was so - validating? Yes, validating.
Take the "Assess your aptitude" test, for example. I'll pull out 2 questions that most quizzes tell me I get wrong. (Ignore the gender bias - I think Wall Street thinks all businesspeople are men, but I won't hold that against them.)
The first one is: An entreprenuer's primary motivation for starting his own business is - to make money, because he can't work for anyone else, to be famous, or as an outlet for excess energy.
The "correct" answer on most quizzes that have similar questions has usually been the first or last answer, but I've always really chosen the "doesn't play well with supervision" answer.
I mean, here's a person who has a innovative way of generating new business or of streamlining this process or that and they're told they can't implement it because it "isn't done that way". The older and larger a business is, the more likely an entrepreneurial person will find themselves at odds with the corporate culture. They may have a history of being fired because they just can't get stand to see what they percieve as the waste if a good idea, inefficiency, or even just control issues.
Management, at least in my experience, wants employees to do things exactly the way they were trained to do it, that way and no other. They may give lip service to change, but suppress it. Why? Because after a while, in large corporations, innovation is a threat to the status quo. That's why I now work for a smaller company.
And you know what? This quiz agreed with me!
The second question was: Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are - cordial friends, best friends, in secret conflict.
The first two answers are the ones I was sure were the ones the test writer wanted me to pick, but the last answer is the one that felt right to me.
It's obvious, isn't it?
One has the money, and the other spends it.
In my mind, I see Frankenstein's Monster playing out, with Frankenstein as the venture capitalist and the monster is naturally the entrepreneur.
Like Frankenstein, the venture capitalist infuses the entrepreneur with life. Frankenstein used electricity, the venture capitalist uses money.
When the monster comes to life, what Frankenstein and hte venture capitalist forget is that they no longer have control
It's up to the monster to live and succeed, to woo the villagers and create a place to live and grow.
There are only three things that Frankenstein or the venture capitalist can do: step out of the way and let the monster do what he does best, offer support and further infusions of "life" until the monster is grown up and self-sufficient, or kill the monster.
Honest, it's much more exciting in my mind. Full color. Sensaround. Bad puns. Fire. Dancing.
And, surprise! This quiz agreed with me!
I like Wall Street Journal's Startup Journal.