There’s something about entrepreneurs

There’s just some­thing about en­tre­pre­neurs. Ir­re­spec­tive of what busi­ness they’re in, there’s an en­ergy and in­ten­sity about them that marks them out from oth­ers and makes them easy to spot.

Of course if that fails, the big give­away is that they’re the ones who aren’t in suits, but still step out of the restau­rant to take a con­fer­ence call at 10pm. The way I see it, any­one can be an en­tre­pre­neur, what marks out the real deal is the rest­less en­ergy, con­stantly cal­cu­lat­ing an­gles and re­assess­ing plans of at­tack. In fact a long time ago I came to the con­clu­sion that this is a com­pul­sion, not quite a dis­ease, but with many signs and symp­toms which some­times make it look like one.

The ev­i­dence is out there and called the se­r­ial en­tre­pre­neur. You’ve seen them, made more money than Croe­sus but still putting in 16 hour days and try­ing out new ven­tures. You’d be for­given for ask­ing why, in the name of all that’s holy, would any­one choose to work like a dog when they could be bob­bing about on a yacht in the Caribbean. With drinks and err, great com­pany?

The an­swer is they can’t stop; they’re com­pelled to keep doing it. What­ever per­son­al­ity trait car­ried them to suc­cess pre­vi­ously can’t be shut off and there is the need to do it again. But why? What is there left to prove? I’m not sure they’re try­ing to prove any­thing, but we get into the realms of the­ory, be­cause I think it boils down to win­ning, and the en­dor­phin hit you get when you’ve won the prize that can’t be bought. Even though you go through all flavours of hell to get there, there will be pain and mis­ery- you KNOW there will be, you’ve done it be­fore for heaven’s sake- but you still can’t stop your­self from doing it again. The hit you get is so damn in­tense, so en­velop­ing, just so damn gooood, you just have to and that’s the end of it. You will win, you know you will, it’s a mat­ter of when, not if.

That prize is sim­ply worth it and no-one can buy it, it has to be taken. Put that in­ten­sity of liv­ing against an aim­less, drift­ing ex­is­tence of the ‘young’ re­tired, or worse, a 9-5 desk job, and just the thought of it is hor­ri­fy­ing. That focus and ex­pen­di­ture of en­ergy on the prize comes at a cost. Of course it does. Most of my en­tre­pre­neur friends are ei­ther sin­gle or di­vorced. There just aren’t that many peo­ple out there will­ing to ac­cept that they’re not top pri­or­ity in the lives of these dri­ven in­di­vid­u­als ; and the truth is they may ac­tu­ally be far down the list be­hind your co-founders/man­age­ment team/in­vestors, never mind being ab­sent from the num­ber 1 slot.

This is a very high price. My chil­dren are now used to their fa­thers’ in­abil­ity to set­tle down with one per­son, and I think I pre­ferred it when it war­ranted com­ment from them. These days, while I’m no more able to re­sist the busi­ness pull than I was 20 years ago, at least I can mod­er­ate it, a lit­tle, and enjoy other sides of life. My chil­dren are num­ber 1, re­gard­less of what’s going down in busi­ness. What­ever the prize is, it’s sim­ply knocked out of the park by their well­be­ing.

My other main in­ter­est out­side busi­ness is cars, and I’m for­tu­nate to have some very de­sir­able cars in my garage. Even when I’m out in the cars, you can’t get away from busi­ness; one sen­ti­ment I’ve heard many times in one form or an­other is ‘what is it you do, be­cause I’d like to do it too..’ I won­der, re­ally won­der, Mr Happy Do­mes­tic­ity, if you’re will­ing to pay the price.