Alright, the headline was a bit extreme, but I've got a theory.
I propose that one of the most successful entrepreneurs today, Mark Zuckerberg, isn't even an actual entrepreneur.
That explosion you just heard was your mind being blown.
Alright, probably not, because I haven't convinced you yet. But, hear me out.
First let's get the obvious out of the way. Mark's the founder of a company, so of course he's an "entrepreneur". Nobody can dispute that.
So why am I saying he's not?
You know when you were a kid and you asked someone if they liked you, or if they like, LIKED you?
I know that Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur, but I don't believe he's an entrepreneur, ENTREPRENEUR.
You know what I'm saying?
As I've described ad nauseam in previous posts, entrepreneurs are a different breed of individuals. They're relentless and, unless they were held at gunpoint, would never imagine doing anything other than being an entrepreneur.
I believe that Mark Zuckerberg would give up being an entrepreneur at the sign of a potato gun. I honestly don't think it matters to him. Facebook obviously matters to him, but being an entrepreneur ... not so much.
Obviously he's been presented with a few opportunities to cash out. And, he declined.
One would think that disproves my point, but I'd argue against it.
An entrepreneur, ENTREPRENEUR would have sold Facebook long ago. Probably even before the third comma entered the discussion.
In hindsight they may have kicked themselves for doing so, but they would be long into their next venture by the time their foot hit their ass.
Much like a baseball player, when an entrepreneur hits a home run they round the bases and take the points. They don't stay at the plate and keep swinging the bat.
A true entrepreneur is not an owner operator, they're an owner ideator. They're capable and willing to do as much as possible until they don't have to. At which point, their mind is onto the next thing.
Being an operator is akin to a job. Entrepreneurs don't like jobs.
Onto point number two.
Entrepreneurs do things that change the world.
Once again, you may suspect that I'm trying to disprove myself. How could I argue that Facebook hasn't changed the world? Hell, it practically has everyone in the world using it.
True. But, entrepreneur, Entrepreneurs set out to change the world from the get go. They're so eff'n delusional that they believe that their beef jerky subscription business can solve childhood hunger (I truly do).
Mark Zuckerberg didn't set out to change the world. If we believe the narrative, he wanted to help geeks get laid in college. While noble, it's not exactly UNICEF-worthy.
Invariably many builders of products become entrepreneurs, but not out of a strong desire to become one, but because they built something they needed and it turned out that others needed it to.
But wait, isn't that what investors like to invest in? Entrepreneurs who solve problems for themselves?
Yes, of course they do. Mark Zuckerberg is a phenomenal investment because he's not a true entrepreneur.
True entrepreneurs make for shitty investments for VC's.
A few years ago a VC shared a story with me about a young 25-year old founder that was looking to raise some money. The founder, attempting to impress the VC, led with the fact that he had already, at the young age of 25, built and sold two businesses.
On the surface that sounds impressive, but what this VC told me was that it was a big red flag. Much like a job candidate with impressive experience, but lack of stability, this VC was looking to invest in people that weren't looking for a quick exit.
Quick exits don't make VC's money, people who turn down a billion dollar offer from Yahoo do.
True entrepreneurs are quick exit people. Zuckerberg is not.
Whether my theory is correct or not, Mark Zuckerberg is an incredible talent nonetheless. I mean him no disrespect, just having a bit of fun.
The truth is, entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, and it doesn't really matter how or why you became one, so long as you are one.