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The research was performed at Microsoft, the company that for the past fourteen years has been striving to get into the business of creating online tools and services that disrupt work. Having worked in the Internet professional services sector, I’m an expert on computer-generated interruptions.
But in past weeks, I’ve strayed from those ideals, because people have actually started reading Soul Shelter and commenting. The downside of Soul Shelter’s modest popularity is that the interruptions are more frequent and more intriguing. I can’t think of a less inspiring, more isolating work posture than sitting before a glowing monitor.
At the risk of sounding hypocritical, never start a blog unless you really, really need to write. I twisted the volume knob clockwise a quarter hour and sat, blood pumping, until the song finished. Philosophers may write primarily for other philosophers, but entrepreneurs and musicians (both composers and performers) require a population of amateurs in order to be complete. Education in entrepreneurship also must be for the amateur, the consumer, who is the ultimate focus of entrepreneurship.
The theme of the new course is simple: Most of us will not and should not be entrepreneurs, but all of us can and should become more entrepreneurial. And while we may not reach the sublime rock ‘n roll heights of a band like BTO, we can certainly thrill to music of our own making. The other day I watched former eBay CEO Meg Whitman being interviewed on The Today Show.Whitman, who is making a bid for the governorship of California, cited as evidence of her qualifications that over a million people now make a full-time living from eBay.
In my view, the quality and strength of a business model is the single most important factor in the success of high-potential, scalable enterprises. In short, the dotcom era popularized — and trivialized — an important idea that today is even more crucial, since software and telecommunications technologies have fundamentally altered price and performance equations in many business sectors. There are successful entrepreneurs and there are what I call Entrepreneurial Thinkers, people who don’t necessarily start new enterprises, but who consistently pursue opportunity regardless of resources currently controlled (more on this in upcoming posts). The article revealed that, contrary to popular perception, Japan’s diversified technology conglomerates are essentially industry overlords heavily dependent on low-status manufacturing subcontractors — like Mr.
Occasionally one of my listeners will point out that what I have said at the end of a speech contradicts something I said at the beginning. KDDI, one of Japan’s leading mobile telephone operators, recently released a cell phone for kids whose selling point is that it prevents users from sending e-mail or browsing the Web.
This on-purpose disfunctionality is squarely aimed at parents concerned that children will view objectionable Web sites or become victims of online bullying.
Not long ago I read an article predicting that future elites (by which I presume the writer meant subjects of Wired magazine features, etc.) will be those unreachable by e-mail, text message, or cell phone.
Yes, in submitting to what I consider the electronic equivalent of putting a bell on a cat collar, I bought a new handset and service package from a strange and wonderful company here in Portland called Consumer Cellular. Consumer Cellular has an intriguing, highly-differentiated approach to selling mobile telephone services. Imagine a cellular company that believes looking at the world is more interesting than staring at a phone.
In their delightful book, Why Business People Speak like Idiots, authors Fugere, Hardaway, and Warshawsky take on the important — and excruciatingly funny — job of clarifying, demystifying, and, well, de-bullshitizing the language of the workplace. The third motive for obscurity is business idiots’ relentless attempts to romanticize whatever it is they do for a living. And I sound like an idiot whenever I start generalizing or sermonizing instead of saying plainly what I know to be true from my own experience (thank you, Brenda Euland, again and again — I’m still working on it).
So here’s part two, in the form of three questions that will help you drill down to the hard realities of whether you should start a business. The choice of sector in which you start your company could be the single most important factor in your success.
What to do if you’re in the above situation but still committed to starting your own business?
So, imagine a featherweight handheld word processing device (HWPD) that requires no booting up and actually helps convert thought directly into analog signals. Imagine, too, an analog data transmission module (ADTM)—even lighter than the HWPD—that fits in a shirt pocket, and, like its word processing counterpart, is completely device-independent. To top it off, a complete set of these amazing tools costs less than one-fortieth the typical handheld computer. At right is an artist’s model of one HWPD atop an analog data transmission module stack. An entrepreneur I met years ago recently sold his company for a large sum on excellent terms, and wound up with some $14 million after taxes.
Most successful entrepreneurs have some college experience, and even the most street-smart, self-made, academic-deriding School of Hard Knocks types recognize that everyone can learn from formal study.
Industrious people tend to become wealthy, and they remain industrious after they become wealthy.


Interview a dozen or so successful company founders, and you’ll recognize these same traits. Why would someone worth $14 million enroll in a beginner’s class in entrepreneurship? Ted recently launched his own small agency, and is now discovering the tough reality of serving not only as creative director, but as head salesman—a new, difficult role.
This means working for the sake of a paycheck, without much personal involvement or satisfaction. Clearly, these categories overlap, and any one person’s work can contain elements of each (Baumeister recognizes this). In every case, though, meaning in work derives from one, or both, of two things: mastery and service. No wonder psychologists have come to the same conclusions as the great spiritual traditions: Meaningful work requires both mastery and service. But I saw the light some eight years ago, and since have been extolling the virtues of avoiding e-mail, fixing a dysfunctional PC-dominated workspace, and turning off the computer.
Limiting PC use to recording, manipulating, or transmitting important information keeps productivity steady and spirits high. If you start a blog, you may find that you enjoy it, and start spending way too much time on it. More important, while few of us will ever become professional musicians, we’d all like to become more musical.
Aspiring entrepreneurs — and ordinary consumers who simply aspire to be more entrepreneurial — buy services and products offered by professional entrepreneurs, just as music lovers purchase music created by professional musicians.
The band’s demo tape was rejected 26 times before it signed the record deal that shot it to stardom.
Not to take anything away from Meg Whitman — no doubt she’s an extraordinary manager — but her statement made it sound like she was directly responsible for creating a million jobs. That’s a good question, one practitioners and academics have struggled with over the past decade. It first appeared in the academic management literature in 1975, and over the next 19 years was cited only 166 times. In fact, I’ve started editing a new book about business model innovation written by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (plus more than 300 collaborators from 28 different countries). Sakai founded several dozen successful manufacturing companies, then wrote a series of books describing bunsha, his overarching business method (bunsha refers to spinning off growing operations into new companies before they become too big; today we would call it intrapreneurship). Apart from his stunning insights into entrepreneurship and Japanese manufacturing, what I really love about Mr.
Sakai sees a world that is often unclear and confused — sometimes even contradictory (as with the perception and the reality behind Japan’s technology giants). To me, the whole world is full of contradictions and so it is only natural that human beings are full of contradictions. And do not try to be consistent, for what is true to you today may not be true at all tomorrow, because you see a better truth. But can it be long before the value of being less connected becomes a desirable “feature” for adults? While buying a new cell phone recently, I paid to remain unconnected to the Internet (the prognostication about a disconnected future is supported by my kids, who consider my buying a cell phone a leading indicator that mobile devices will soon be uncool). And when I called them, a nice lady who seemed to enjoy her job immediately answered the phone, and was able to quickly answer my questions.
Speakers and writers who want to avoid saying anything use a lot of words to say nothing, the authors write. All of this romanticizing keeps the business world from talking about work and instead allows business idiots to pretend to be secret agents and quarterbacks. Academics aren’t much better, except that what they write is often so unintelligible that readers figure that they, not the authors, are the dummies. You’ll enjoy two soul-satsifying essays weekly — never more, never less — and we promise not to speak like idiots. At the heart of Pace’s inquiry, I think, is something many long to know: How can I decide whether I should go into business for myself? That’s natural, because, as consumers ourselves, we all have a basic understanding of, and affinity for, many consumer products and services. Keep in mind that these are simply guidelines, and that every day some entrepreneurs successfully ignore these principles. And as longtime readers know, at Soul Shelter, we’re sticklers about remaining on the bleeding edge of technology. What’s more, the output is immediately human-readable, requiring no screen or other electronic interface.
Style-conscious users will be delighted to learn that both are available in an even greater variety of colors than iPods or Blackberrys.
Though my new student’s entrepreneurial achievements outshine my own, I was only mildly surprised when he asked me to teach him.


My student discovered, as I did, powerful principles that articulate what entrepreneurs sense in their guts—and that such articulation is highly useful.
They’re usually modest about their own successes, too, and recognize that even the accomplished have much to learn. He’s achieved his long-held dream of agency ownership, but struggles to pay the bills. The careerist’s approach to work is not a passionate attachment to the work itself, writes Baumeister. Nevertheless, the three categories point to how work can furnish us with more or less meaning in our lives.
Some may sacrifice family or other interests in order to rise in the world and achieve more prestige, wealth, and accolades. In fact, payment for work is ordinarily measured precisely in terms of its service value to others (yes, we can acknowledge exceptions such as subprime mortgage bundlers). And if it produces insufficient financial rewards, maybe it’s time to ratchet the mastery level up a notch.
Protecting your soul in this wired age means focusing on what’s important — and important things rarely enter life via the computer, television, or popular media. I was visiting the Dilbert-sized company as a new employee, just a year before Dilbert emerged to amuse the world with parodies of the soul-crushing realities of life lived in corporate cubicles.
Both, according to popular perception, depend on God-given talent, and are teachable only to a limited extent. Similarly, few of us will ever become professional entrepreneurs, but we’d all like to become more entrepreneurial.
Along the way are multiple, discrete aspects of music — conducting, mastering a specific instrument, theory, history, etc. Or that what I wrote last week contradicts something I wrote ten years ago … every now and then I run across somebody who intends this comment as a criticism of my whole system. Any system of ideas that is logically perfect in every place and time belongs in the world of mathematics, not the world of people. Procure a volume today to ascertain whether your personal value proposition might be enhanced through application of the value-added paradigms proposed by Fugere, et al. If you work in the restaurant industry, for example, you should not become an entrepreneur — unless you are extremely talented and savvy about both your niche and the industry as a whole. But start by getting a job in the new sector, rather than launching a new venture in unfamiliar territory.
But most successful new companies focus on selling to other businesses rather than to consumers (they are business-to-business, or b-to-b, rather than business-to-consumer, or b-to-c, ventures). If you can demonstrate that using your service or product will produce clear cost savings or a quick return on investment, you’ll make sales. After hearing about my approach to teaching, he asked me to deliver a personal, one-on-one, remote version of the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course I teach in two local graduate business programs. My pupil also confirmed the commonsense observation that successful people study continuously, whether formally or on their own. And maybe because he recognizes that, in the larger scheme of things, we’re all beginners still.
Nevertheless, jobs can produce valuable feelings of skill and satisfaction, not to mention sustenance that enables the worker to pursue meaning in other areas of life. In other words, we should strive to be better amateurs, at both music and entrepreneurship.
And third, because being an entrepreneur is not dull, and many students hope eventually to extricate themselves from soul-crushing labor as salaried employees (to hear the flip side of this coin, see In Praise of Salaried Employment). Those who launched software companies between 1982 and 2002, for example, were 608 times more likely to have their startups join the Inc.
Consumers, on the other hand, can be, well, downright irrational in their purchasing habits, at least compared to businesses.
500 than those who launched restaurants, according to Scott Shane, a professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western University. Marketing to consumers can be far more difficult, and you must often depend on retailers or distributors to reach them. Unless you or someone on your team has a strong track record of successful consumer marketing, you’re more likely to enjoy success targeting businesses. Converting them to a MidiBand style takes about five minutes: just play the song in the app and mark the sections that you like with a press of a button. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website Explorations Into Fuzzy Logic by Toz Bourne and Doug Woods Subscribe for daily updates!



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