The Entrepreneur's Journey - We Are The Explorers

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Global cleantech entrepreneur Bryan Guido Hassin delivered this keynote address at the Entrepreneurs' Organization Latin America Conference 2014-02-21. This builds on and expands his 2012 TED talk on entrepreneurship lessons from Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, this time with the contributions of hundreds of entrepreneurs in the audience. See http://youtu.be/iFopXTevQvs for the video.

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The Entrepreneur's Journey - We Are The Explorers

  1. 1. EO LAC: The Entrepreneur’s Journey How the magic of myth can help us launch ventures, inspire others, and change the world Bryan Guido Hassin @guido23
  2. 2. The Entrepreneur’s Journey is straight and linear… IPO, retire Raise huge VC $$$ Wunderkind has divine inspiration • Preceded by hockey stick growth • With detailed business plan • Or MBA has genius insight EOLAC 2
  3. 3. But the Entrepreneur’s real Journey isn’t nearly so straight-forward! EOLAC Source: AVC.com 3
  4. 4. My journey has taken me around the world, seeing entrepreneurship with a global perspective Houston Nairobi Lausanne Lausanne Houston Austin Houston EOLAC 4
  5. 5. We’ll explore the Entrepreneur’s Journey together today EOLAC 5
  6. 6. A few rules of engagement EOLAC 6
  7. 7. Let’s give it a try: introduce yourself within your group EOLAC 7
  8. 8. Entrepreneurship looks much more like the archetypal Hero’s Journey Call to Adventure Gift of the Goddess Masterful Return Refusal of the Call Wise Sage Supernatural Aid Transformation Death / Rebirth The Dark Forest Challenges, Temptations EOLAC Source: The Hero with a Thousand Faces 8
  9. 9. The Hero’s Journey is fundamental to the human experience Call to Adventure Masterful Return Conscious Subconscious Wise Sage Known Rational Unknown Irrational Death / Rebirth EOLAC The Dark Forest Source: Fundamentals for a World Class Leadership Programme 9
  10. 10. The Entrepreneur’s Journey begins with a call to adventure Call to Adventure Masterful Return Death / Rebirth Common Entrepreneurial Calls to Adventure Wise Sage The Dark Forest • Wanderlust • “I want to be my own boss” • “I hate my boss” • Desire for financial gain • Opportunism • Desire for impact Successful entrepreneurs start with their means, not divine inspiration EOLAC 10
  11. 11. Entrepreneurs seek supernatural aid and wise sages to cross the threshold into the unknown Call to Adventure Masterful Return Death / Rebirth Common Sources of Entrepreneurial Aid Wise Sage The Dark Forest • • • • • Mentors Angel investors Advisors Partners Clients Successful entrepreneurs augment their means to take the plunge EOLAC 11
  12. 12. Entrepreneurs must rapidly iterate through challenges while constantly beset by temptations Call to Adventure Masterful Return Death / Rebirth Wise Sage The Dark Forest Common Entrepreneurial Challenges • Funding • Market traction • Attracting employees • Self doubt Common Entrepreneurial Temptations • Consulting for cash • Too-good-to-be-true partnerships • Bad clients/investors EOLAC 12
  13. 13. Entrepreneurs constantly transform their business and themselves to make it out of The Dark Forest Call to Adventure Masterful Return Death / Rebirth Common Entrepreneurial Transformations Wise Sage The Dark Forest • • • • • Business model pivot Different target market Product update New distribution channel Hiring / firing Successful entrepreneurs transform themselves, not just their ventures EOLAC 13
  14. 14. Entrepreneurs return victorious with many definitions of success Call to Adventure Masterful Return Death / Rebirth Common Entrepreneurial Successes Wise Sage The Dark Forest • • • • • • Sustains lifestyle Creates jobs Noteworthy achievement Exit by acquisition IPO Changes the world Successful entrepreneurs know what success means to them EOLAC 14
  15. 15. Breakout: What is your favorite heroic tale? EOLAC 15
  16. 16. So what can the Hero’s Journey teach us about entrepreneurship? Call to Adventure Gift of the Goddess Masterful Return Refusal of the Call Wise Sage Supernatural Aid Transformation Death / Rebirth EOLAC The Dark Forest Challenges, Temptations 16
  17. 17. “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future” EOLAC 17
  18. 18. It takes a team to form a collective hero Teammates provide complementary skillsets and emotional support EOLAC Source: Hostage at the Table 18
  19. 19. 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 journey EOLAC 19
  20. 20. 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 entrepreneurs EOLAC Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 20
  21. 21. 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 environments EOLAC Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 21
  22. 22. Don’t choose the best path through the forest; create your own path New End 1 Means 2 Means 1 Means 3 Fixed End Starting Means New End 2 New End 3 Successful entrepreneurs start with their means and imagine new possibilities EOLAC Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 22
  23. 23. 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 options EOLAC Source: Effectual Entrepreneurship 23
  24. 24. Work on significant, meaningful problems It takes a villain as evil as Voldemort to induce heroic acts as great as those performed by Harry Potter EOLAC 24
  25. 25. Breakout: What can you learn about entrepreneurship from heroic myths? EOLAC 25
  26. 26. The Entrepreneur’s Journey is psychological Call to Adventure Masterful Return Conscious Subconscious Wise Sage Known Rational Unknown Irrational Death / Rebirth EOLAC The Dark Forest Source: Fundamentals for a World Class Leadership Programme 26
  27. 27. Breakout: What are your greatest entrepreneurial fears? EOLAC Source: Jimpaw 27
  28. 28. Humans gain confidence to take risks by leaning on their secure bases  Human Behavior: fear of loss > desire for gain  Secure bases will love you even if you fail  Secure bases give you confidence to take risks  Identify and lean on your secure bases EOLAC Source: Hostage at the Table 28
  29. 29. Breakout: Who/what are your secure bases? For whom are you a secure base? EOLAC 29
  30. 30. 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 believe EOLAC 30
  31. 31. Case in point: Jan Koum is now a billionaire but five years ago he was on food stamps EOLAC 31
  32. 32. Breakout: When has faith helped you persist through dark entrepreneurial times? EOLAC 32
  33. 33. Is this the Entrepreneur’s Journey for you? What happens when you reach the top? EOLAC 33
  34. 34. Embrace the Entrepreneur’s Journey EOLAC 34
  35. 35. We are the explorers “We are the explorers. There is a drive inside each and every one of us: a drive to wonder, to push the boundaries, and to explore. Throughout our history we have taken both small steps and giant leaps in that pursuit. We don’t know what new discoveries lie ahead, but this is the very reason we must go.” -NASA EOLAC 35
  36. 36. We are the explorers entrepreneurs So happy venturing! EOLAC 36

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