We’ve been brought up hearing of these generational entrepreneurs; Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos. How are they all portrayed? As enigmas, like they’re almost aliens. They’re made out to be completely detached from us ‘mortals’.
Now, I’m incredibly sceptical of this. I’m an entrepreneur myself, and yes I suppose there is a side of me that sees myself as different to others. But not in a way that I don’t feel like I belong. I mainly have a profound sense of self confidence and belief that I’ll get there in the end; combined with meaningful ambition. Attributes anyone can have.
Before you say it, no I’m not comparing myself to the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, but I have noticed one trait I possess that I don’t think many others share. That is, deep awareness and understanding of people. Human beings are incredibly complex, we know this; so it’s impossible for me to proclaim that I understand the ins and outs of our species. Experts in that field are still a long way off after all. I do however have a heightened sensitivity to the reactions and emotions of others and it dictates my actions and how I behave, the decisions I make. This includes my approach to business and marketing.
We all have those friends or peers who, in the nicest possible way, just don’t really have ‘it’. They’re always starting new projects, businesses or bringing their exciting news to the table and it disappears into thin air a week later. They believe it’s the best idea since sliced bread but it’s either a terrible idea, or they just didn’t have the mental tools to bring it to fruition.
So many factors could come into why it never happens for them but I believe it’s mainly just down to ‘awareness’. Understanding what society in general wants, down to the individual and their feelings. Knowing what to double down on and what to push aside. Being able to decide FOR my target market that they’re going to love my product, being certain of it and then many more times than not, I’m right.
I guess we’re shown Steve Jobs as being a complicated character because it makes better movies. I’m sure he was complicated in many ways; we’re all conditioned in different ways, based on social, economic and environmental factors. I do believe however, that if we met these business behemoths, sat down for dinner with them, cracked open a bottle of wine, we’d quickly realise that they were fantastic social creatures.
I cannot see how you could build businesses of the kind of scale of Amazon, Tesla, Apple, without a profound understanding and empathy for people. You need to know what people want, on an emotional level; because emotions translate into any purchase.
Let’s stop romanticising the narcissistic, complicated entrepreneur and shine light on the pro-relationship, aware, conscious entrepreneur.