Let’s get a few things straight.
Talking about entrepreneurship, just to talk about entrepreneurship, and then selling a “private video series” at the end of the talking, is not actual entrepreneurship.
The purpose of entrepreneurship, while it certainly has a self-serving element to it, is primarily service to others. Embedded in all ethical businesses is an intrinsic element of social good, even if the owners profit wildly as a result. You see a problem that you can solve, you fix it for others at scale and, if you do it right, you are rewarded. If you do not solve the problem, the market will tell you. By not buying.
That is entrepreneurship.
But these days, we have confused marketing for entrepreneurship. We have confused the whistle with the train. We are all eating Hostess treats without the cream filling.
And the marketers have it backward. Instead of identifying a real problem and fixing it, they are creating problems that nobody had before, exaggerating the created problem and linking a lot of pain or fear of missing out to it, then charging to solve it.
This creates a sense of constant neuroses in the entrepreneurial community. It perpetuates the feeling that we are always in the dark; that we will never know what we are doing and that there will always be a guru whose robes we must cling to as we genuflect in awe of their unattainable achievements. “Teach me, wise one.”
This approach is highly profitable for people untroubled by preying on the confusion but it does not make anything better. It makes money. And that is the confusion: just because something makes money does not mean that it is useful, helpful or wise. (See: Bernie Madoff, Enron, et al.)
If you are going to make something, make something better for someone else.
Solve real problems. I have some good friends out there who are living this:
Maneesh Sethi literally created a magical device (Pavlok) from scratch that could be the most powerful habit-changing device of the last century. Jordan and AJ Harbinger are teaching men (and women) how live on the edge and become the best versions of themselves at The Art of Charm.
Jon Goodman is writing books and creating programs to help the next generation of leaders how to get their clients into shape with the Personal Trainer Development Center.
They are making things a lot better for people. As a result, their lives are getting better, too. That is what real entrepreneurs do. After all, what are you doing if you are not making things better?
Screw the hype and the Facebook ads with stock photos of impossibly ripped, smiling couples high-fiving as they complete their 45-minute workday from the beach. Screw the textbook “hero’s journey” viral videos about guys who started with a few dollars and ended up in a garage full of exotic cars.
Screw this inception of ideas about ideas about ideas. And if you cannot make the lives of others better, then screw you too!
Solve a problem, or get out of the way for the people who can. You are hogging up our Newsfeed.
Image credit: CC by Chris Potter