What Everybody Ought to Know About “Social Entrepreneurship”

From Entrepreneurship by Meltwater founder and CEO Jørn Lyseggen:

Entrepreneurship is in my opinion actually a way to express oneself. Much in the same way artists express themselves in making paintings or other pieces of art, entrepreneurs express themselves by building companies producing new and improved solutions.

At the core is a desire to contribute and essentially make the world a tiny bit better.

For this reason I am not so fond of the term “social entrepreneurship”. I believe any or at least the vast majority of companies aspire to impact the world positively. At least they did so when starting out. Pharmaceutical companies are obvious examples, but if you think about it companies in any industry are trying to make the world better by improving the status quo in their way. Better communications, better solutions, better something.

I think the term “social entrepreneurship” is misleading. It is belittling the contributions to most entrepreneurs out there while singling out others in an awkward way.

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The Distorted Perception About Startups

From The myth of the overnight success by Chris Dixon:

Angry Birds was Rovio’s 52nd game. They spent eight years and almost went bankrupt before finally creating their massive hit. [..]

You tend to hear about startups when they are successful but not when they are struggling. This creates a systematically distorted perception that companies succeed overnight. Almost always, when you learn the backstory, you find that behind every “overnight success” is a story of entrepreneurs toiling away for years, with very few people except themselves and perhaps a few friends, users, and investors supporting them.

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God Rewards Fools, Founders

From The Code Book by Simon Singh, quoting Martin Hellman, one of the founders of public key cryptography:

You have idea number 1, you get excited, and it flops. Then you have idea number 2, you get excited, and it flops. Then you have idea number 99, you get excited, and it flops. Only a fool would be excited by the 100th idea, but it might take 100 ideas before one really pays off. Unless you’re foolish enough to be continually excited, you won’t have the motivation, you won’t have the energy to carry it through. God rewards fools.

On co-inventor Whitfield Diffie’s roller coaster ride coming up with what is still one of the most important cryptographic technologies:

Diffie and Hellman spent month after month attempting to find a solution. Although every idea ended in failure, they supported each other and persevered. Diffie often went through long periods of barren contemplation, and on one occasion in 1975 he became so frustrated that he told his wife Mary that he was just a failed scientist who would never amount to anything. He told her that she ought to find someone else. Mary told him that she had absolute faith in him, and just two weeks later Diffie came up with his truly brilliant idea.

Remember Lean Startup? Remember “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” from Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University?

How Nordic Leadership Is Different From Silicon Valley-style Leadership

Mårten Mickos, former CEO of MySQL, now CEO of Eucalyptus, here answers to What makes Scandinavian leadership different from say “Silicon Valley” style leadership?

I talk about Scandinavian-inspired leadership, but I must start by noting that it is nothing uniquely Scandinavian. You find it all over the world.

There is a notion of “people first” and a principle of egalitarianism. We are all human beings, we should be respected for our opinions, and we all have something valuable to contribute. For practical purposes, we specialize and we are given various job titles such as “assistant”, “developer” and “CEO”. We also have different salary and bonus levels. But we are still just a bunch of people who are trying to accomplish something together.

We speak up. It’s OK for one in a senior role to be wrong, and one in a junior role to be right. It’s OK to contradict someone and it’s OK to challenge an authority. At the end of the debate, we all need to align behind a decision. But before such a decision, dissent is welcome.

What’s not specifically defined as closed will be open. There are always pieces of information that need to be kept secret. But there is a ton of things that can be shared. We need to be as open as we possibly can. We must share the true state of affairs with our employees. We must have a fully open dialog with our customers, not hiding or obscuring facts.

We are not victims and we don’t put blame on others. We know that success is up to ourselves. We know that we may live in a harsh climate and that we may have to work a little harder than the rest. If we fail, we pick up ourselves, learn from the experience, and have a new go at it.

We take broad responsibility. Perhaps we were hired just for one task. Perhaps we are paid a bonus just for specific accomplishments. But we all need to think about the company as something that we are collectively in charge of. For that reason, we must step up and step in whenever the situation calls for it. The CEO must be ready to answer the door bell. The accountant must be ready to answer the phone and engage with customers. We are “us”, not “me”.

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A Story of Unbundling In The Tech Industry, Tweetstormed by Marc Andreessen →

PS
[1] Fred Wilson did a Tweetstorm about Tweetstroming. That explains it, but basically it’s about turning Twitter into a live blogging platform.
[2] Sumukh Sridhara built Tweetstorm.io to better view and create Tweetstorms. It lists all of Marc Andreessen’s Tweetstorms.
[3] Dave Winer built Little Pork Chop for Tweetstorming

Amazon: We see Nordics as one of the world’s leading innovation centers →

Amazon’s head of Web Services in CEE & Nordics, Peter Fuchs, to The Swedish Wire:

We have found that Nordic customers are among the most innovative users of cloud computing in the world and our early experiences with businesses in the region led us to make the Nordics a focal point for Amazon Web Services.

Following,

We see the Nordics as one of the world’s leading innovation centers, challenging places like London, Berlin and Tel Aviv.

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