In some cultures, business is decried as being a touch grubby.
It's true that the lava-like spread of American culture has made this slightly less so in, for example, Europe.
However, have a couple of drinks with a Parisienne and she'll likely tell you that businesspeople are merely the garbage collectors of the upper middle classes.
Then she'll take you to the Louvre to show you an exalted level of human culture.
I wonder, though, whether entrepreneurs have been given fair credit. Surely theirs is an art like any other.
So I focused very hard, and very late at night, to find five reasons why entrepreneurs are truly identical to artists. (I must underline that I live in the Bay Area, so my views might be a touch skewed.)
1. They just can't stop talking about themselves and their work. Spend an evening with an artist and you'd better hope the wine is from Napa and the food is from the French Laundry. The artist will go on and on about their inspiration, the injustices that have been thrust upon them and, most of all, the lack of appreciation of their talents. I find it's the same with entrepreneurs. If only the VCs didn't ask such stupid questions. If only everyone could see why the world is desperate for an app that finds you someone to clean your gutters with an organic brush. If only Uber would admit that they ripped off your idea and made a killing out of it.
2. The Envy. The Envy. The Envy. Every entrepreneur in the world could have been a contender. Just like every artist. They look at those more successful than them -- especially if they're from the same generation -- and they bemoan the successful one's lack of talent. "He just became famous because he had the connections," they mutter. "She was in the right place at the right time. And I HATE her." "You think that's a good idea? That?" Please take those quotes and transpose them into the mouth of an artist. They fit perfectly, don't they?
3. The Late Nights. And The Drinking. Artists often work at nights. That's when they get their finest inspirations. Somehow, this coincides with their drinking patterns. This is entirely coincidental. Coincidentally, entrepreneurs often destroy their personal relationships because they burn the midnight oil as they burn through their office supply of beer and white zinfandel. Is it any wonder that the more successful you are, the more you drink?
4. The Ridiculous, Mindless Belief In Innovation. Both entrepreneurs and artists are convinced that the thing they're working on is the first ever of its kind anywhere in any galaxy in any iteration of existence. Yes, entrepreneurs might describe their invention as, for example, "the Uber of Paracetamol Delivery," but they firmly believe no one ever thought of this before. Similarly, artists might paint in the style of, say, Cezanne. But they firmly believe that not even Cezanne could have imagine the twist they're putting on, well, Cezanne.
5. The Ego, The Ego, The Ego. It used to be that artists were thought of as the biggest, undefeated egos in the world. But I defy you to put Steve Jobs and Picasso in a room and expect either of them to leave still being able to hear. An entrepreneur, just like an artist, isn't merely creating a piece of work. He or she is a piece of work. And the business they're building is a monument to themselves, not just to the spirit of ideas. There may be entrepreneurs who behave modestly, just as there (were and) are artists who shun the limelight. At heart, though, theirs is a burning desire for their existence to make a dent in the universe. And the tool making the dent is a slightly enlarged sense of self.
Of course, there's one principal difference between entrepreneurs and artists. The former rely on the market and have to succeed while they're alive. The latter know they're immortal.