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The Entrepreneur's Journey

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This talk was given at TEDxRiceU in April 2012. Global cleantech entrepreneur Bryan Guido Hassin uses Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey as a framework for entrepreneurship lessons he has found valuable …

This talk was given at TEDxRiceU in April 2012. Global cleantech entrepreneur Bryan Guido Hassin uses Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey as a framework for entrepreneurship lessons he has found valuable as professor of entrepreneurial leadership at Rice University. The video is online at http://youtu.be/1apQfxfXSfU

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  • Love the marriage of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey Mythology and Monomyth to the Hero's Journey!

    You'll enjoy my class and festival devoted to Hero's Journey Entrepreneurship at herosjourneyentrepreneurship.org! :)

    Dr. E's 3 Stages of the Hero's Journey in Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology

    * 1.1 Departure (or Separation): Taking that first step--blog your vision.
    1.1.1 The Call to Adventure: Artistic passions & dreams
    1.1.2 Refusal of the Call: Is it practical?
    1.1.3 Supernatural Aid: Use the force, Luke. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
    1.1.4 The Crossing of the First Threshold: Business structures / market research
    1.1.5 The Belly of the Whale: The business plan, raising funds, intellectual property
    * 1.2 Initiation: Building the team, incorporating
    1.2.1 The Road of Trials: Striving toward profitablitity
    1.2.2 The Meeting with the Goddess: First customers! Early success!
    1.2.3 Temptation: Seeking short-term profits over long-term wealth.
    1.2.4 Atonement with the Father: Competing or collaborating with the big guys--the Microsofts and Apples, the Hollywood studios
    1.2.5 Realizing the core business Apotheosis
    1.2.6 The Ultimate Boon: Newfound business acumen!
    * 1.3 Return: It is all for naught without the road back!
    1.3.1 Refusal of the Return: Don't lose site of the core business!
    1.3.2 The Magic Flight: Exit strategy! IPO or selling the company!
    1.3.3 Rescue from Without: When business competition is your best friend.
    1.3.4 The Crossing of the Return Threshold: The venture is a success!
    1.3.5 Master of Two Worlds: You know what it takes--like Richard Branson you can do it again.
    1.3.6 Freedom to Live: Financial freedom to pursue your dreams!!

    http://artsentrepreneurship.com
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  • A student reminded me that it's been one year to the day that I gave this talk - sorry for taking so long to post it!
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  • 1. TEDxRiceU: The Entrepreneur’sJourneyHow the magic of myth can help us launch ventures,inspire others, and change the worldBryan Guido Hassin@guido23
  • 2. My journey begins here at Rice, where I first took the entrepreneurial plunge Houston Nairobi Lausanne Lausanne Houston Austin HoustonTEDxRiceU 2
  • 3. I’ve founded/built/led five cleantech startups Houston Nairobi Lausanne Lausanne Houston Austin HoustonTEDxRiceU 3
  • 4. My journey has taken me around the world, seeing entrepreneurship with a global perspective Houston Nairobi Lausanne Lausanne Houston Austin HoustonTEDxRiceU 4
  • 5. This is how people believe entrepreneurship happens IPO, retire • Preceded by Raise huge hockey stick VC $$$ growth Wunderkind • With detailed has divine business plan inspiration • Or MBA has genius insightTEDxRiceU 5
  • 6. But this is not how entrepreneurship usually happens • First time • < 2% of • < 1% of founders ventures ever ventures IPO average 40 raise VC $$$ years old • < 27% of Inc. • Ventures 500 ever had rapidly evolve a biz plan IPO, retire from original • Preceded by vision Raise huge hockey stick VC $$$ growth Wunderkind • With detailed has divine business plan inspiration • Or MBA has genius insightTEDxRiceU Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship.com 6
  • 7. I believe entrepreneurship looks much more like the archetypal Hero’s Journey Gift of the Call to Refusal of the Goddess Adventure Call Masterful Wise Sage ReturnTransformation Supernatural Aid Death / The Dark Rebirth Forest Challenges, Te mptations TEDxRiceU Source: The Hero with a Thousand Faces 7
  • 8. The Hero’s Journey is fundamental to the human experience Call to Adventure Masterful Wise SageConscious Return Known RationalSubconscious Unknown Irrational Death / The Dark Rebirth Forest TEDxRiceU Source: Fundamentals for a World Class Leadership Programme 8
  • 9. The entrepreneurial journey begins with a call to adventure Call to Adventure Common Entrepreneurial Calls to Adventure Masterful Wise Sage Return • Wanderlust • “I want to be my own Death / The Dark boss” Rebirth Forest • “I hate my boss” • Desire for financial gain • Opportunism • Desire for impact Successful entrepreneurs start with their means, not divineTEDxRiceU 9
  • 10. Entrepreneurs seek supernatural aid and wise sages to cross the threshold into the unknown Call to Adventure Common Sources of Entrepreneurial Aid Masterful Wise Sage Return • Mentors • Angel investors Death / The Dark • Advisors Rebirth Forest • Partners • Clients Successful entrepreneurs augment their means to take the plungeTEDxRiceU 10
  • 11. Entrepreneurs must rapidly iterate through challenges while constantly beset by temptations Call to Adventure Common Entrepreneurial Challenges Masterful Return Wise Sage • Funding • Market traction • Attracting employees Death / The Dark • Self doubt Rebirth Forest Common Entrepreneurial Temptations • Consulting for cash • Too-good-to-be-true partnerships • Bad clients/investorsTEDxRiceU 11
  • 12. Entrepreneurs constantly transform their business and themselves to make it out of The Dark Forest Call to Adventure Common Entrepreneurial Transformations Masterful Wise Sage Return • Business model pivot • Different target market Death / The Dark • Product update Rebirth Forest • New distribution channel • Hiring / firing Successful entrepreneurs transform themselves, not just theirTEDxRiceU 12
  • 13. Entrepreneurs return victorious with many definitions of success Call to Adventure Common Entrepreneurial Successes Masterful Wise Sage Return • Sustains lifestyle • Creates jobs Death / The Dark • Noteworthy achievement Rebirth Forest • Exit by acquisition • IPO • Changes the world Successful entrepreneurs know what success means to themTEDxRiceU 13
  • 14. So what can the Hero’s Journey teach us about entrepreneurship? Gift of the Call to Refusal of the Goddess Adventure Call Masterful Wise Sage ReturnTransformation Supernatural Aid Death / The Dark Rebirth Forest Challenges, T TEDxRiceU emptations 14
  • 15. It takes a team to form a collective hero Teammates provide complementary skillsets and act as secure basesTEDxRiceU Source: Hostage at the Table 15
  • 16. Know thyself Paul Atreides gaining self awareness by taking the Water of Life - Dune True self knowledge can be painful to obtain but is invaluable during the entrepreneurial journeyTEDxRiceU 16
  • 17. Seek wise sages who have practical, relevant experience Yoda was (and always will be) a badass – Star Wars Mentors who have been there, done that are worth $186,000 to first-time entrepreneursTEDxRiceU Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 17
  • 18. Don’t choose the best path through the forest; create your own path Ender Wiggin changing the rules of the game – Ender’s Game Successful entrepreneurs maximize upside by controlling their environmentsTEDxRiceU Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 18
  • 19. Don’t choose the best path through the forest; create your own path New End Means 1 2Means Means 1 3 Starting Means Fixed End New End New End 2 3 Successful entrepreneurs start with their means and imagine new possibilitiesTEDxRiceU Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 19
  • 20. Don’t choose the best path through the forest; create your own path Gandalf’s new path over the forest – The Hobbit Successful entrepreneurs use partnerships and embrace surprises to expand their means, creating new optionsTEDxRiceU Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 20
  • 21. Work on significant, meaningful problems It takes a villain as evil as Voldemort to induce heroic acts as great as those performed by Harry PotterTEDxRiceU 21
  • 22. Faith and persistence are the entrepreneur’s greatest assets Neo feeling what is possible once he finally believes – The Matrix The darkest hour is just before dawn; you’ve got to believeTEDxRiceU 22
  • 23. Back to my story: some entrepreneurs are turning to me as the sage rather than the hero I’ve spent my life as a warrior; being a wizard is new and unknown to me (back into the Dark Forest!)TEDxRiceU 23
  • 24. Another entrepreneur and I are now teaching LAUNCH (entrepreneurship) at Rice Entrepreneurship cannot be taught in a safe classroom; it must be developed experientiallyTEDxRiceU 24
  • 25. By mentoring and coaching, we guide students along their own entrepreneurial journeys Call to Adventure • Practitioner professors Masterful • Local Wise Sage Return entrepreneur case studies • Mentor network Death / The Dark Rebirth Forest Seven new ventures have been launched this semester!TEDxRiceU 25
  • 26. Potential Entrepreneurs: answer the call to adventure Life is too short not to spend every moment of it pursuing your dreamsTEDxRiceU 26
  • 27. Entrepreneurs: answer the call for mentorship Mentorship: it’s an entirely new adventure!TEDxRiceU 27