I caught up this past weekend with an old friend who is most certainly *not* an entrepreneur. This friend is a corporate guy through and through. He's so corporate, he just doesn't understand the life of a startup person or why someone would forsake a promising corporate job in exchange for long hours, a small salary (if you're lucky), and the trouble of the early-stage routine.
Anyway, he asked me to share with him the traits of someone who would be a good entrepreneur. I'm not sure if it was a curiosity thing for him or if he really wanted to understand. Anyway, here are some key traits that I've seen (in bullet form):
- An adventurous personality who is willing to look risk in the eye and not flinch,
- A founder who is willing to do whatever it takes,
- A person with a positive attitude and confidence about the vision,
- A realist who can evolve to where the best application of a product/technology actually is,
- A good communicator/evangelist for the business and its vision,
- Someone with a real chip on his/her shoulder -- i.e. a person who feels disrespected, neglected, ignored, or told that he/she can't do something one time too many,
- Someone who has faced real adversity in his/her life and perhaps most importantly, managed to overcome it. And no, by adversity I don't mean "couldn't vacation in Aspen in 2004" or "didn't get the iPhone on the day it was released"
Now on top of this, entrepreneurs must see opportunity often well before other people see it. They need to pull it all together, and probably do so with less money/resources than he/she really needs to get it done. You have to admit -- it indeed does take a special type of person to do it. Maybe my corporate friend is the smart one after all, and I'm just nuts. ;-)