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Making Entrepreneurship the Norm

One founder shares his vision for spreading the entrepreneurial mindset--and getting start-up folks to think outside their own boxes.
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Start-up folks have an ability to see the silver lining in every situation, which likely contributes to their belief that the economy is always improving, the reason they make such terrible investors, and why others have occasionally demanded that they get their rose-colored vision checked.

Francisco Dao, founder of the business networking community 50 Kings, believes that the rest of society could benefit from a little entrepreneur-like optimism, however. Last Thursday, he published an essay to that effect on the tech and entrepreneurship news site PandoDaily.

"I believe the key to creating a new Silicon Valley is to make entrepreneurship a cultural and societal norm for the region you’re trying to affect. Once it becomes a norm, it spreads like an infectious disease. If you believe entrepreneurship is what’s expected of you, it’s highly probable you’ll go after it regardless of how many VCs are nearby or whether or not there’s a local tech happy hour," Dao wrote of expanding the entrepreneurial mindset.

That's a great idea, commenters on PandoDaily agreed. Now how do you implement it?

On Tuesday, Dao followed up his earlier article with a how-to manual for building an entrepreneur-heavy culture. Here, his one-two punch of a philosophy.

First, think outside the location box. There are upsides and downsides to the Internet, Dao acknowledges. One of the major upsides, he says, is its ability to connect aspiring entrepreneurs with like minds--even like minds living half way around the world.

"I regularly encourage people to view their professional and social circles as being from the Internet, not from their local cities, and to build their relationships and take their cues from the people who inhabit this larger, less limited, world," writes Dao.

And, secondly, ditch formulaic business plans. "Even within the peer group of the internet world, most entrepreneurs are thinking only within the scope of 'like this for that' apps and monthly underwear delivery," Dao writes. This may sound harsh, but Dao believes that "real" problems won't get solved unless entrepreneurs--traditionally the movers-and-shakers of industry--break outside the box, so to speak. Even the boxes that they've created.

"We need to step back and think about entrepreneurship through the larger lens of simply making it a viable and respectable path. In order to do that, we must show people that starting something from nothing, whatever that may be, is a viable possibility," he concludes.

Last updated: Jul 16, 2013

FRANCESCA FENZI | Staff Writer

Francesca Fenzi reports on entrepreneurship, technology and small business news from San Francisco. Her work has previously appeared in TIME, USA Today, Pop City and The Northside Chronicle.




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