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Unformatted text preview: L I E S A N E N T F I E P F I E N E U F I TClLtrl ME DR. PAUL KEDROSKY RIVORD Most of what you read abour entrepreneurship and innovation is a lie. Not an outright lie-nothing Enron-ian in its evil, or Blodget-esque in im medy-mouthed duplicirousness- but a lie, nevertheless. The trouble with the lie is that would-be enffepreneurs don'r know what they're gening into, as you've seen in the profiles in this book. Before letting you in on the lie, however, let me explain my view of entrepreneurship and innovadon. Because as a busi- ness professor, entrepreneur, sometime venture capimlist, and regular speaker on these subjecrc, I have many people tell me thar rhey want to be entrepreneurs. I rell rhem that they dont want to be entrepreneurs. They say they do. I say they dont. And so ir goes. \7hy dont they? Well, for starters, entrepreneurs' hours are appalling. Think retail hours are bad? These schedules bring a whole new dimension of bad to the word "badness." Because entrepreneurs' hours are worse than retail. \Vry worse. Consider: If you think there is any glamour in the CEO title, see how you feel after spending four days commuting up and down the U.S. seaboard (if this is Tuesday, this must be Jersey Ci.y) hawking your sofrware to largely uninterested corporate buyers. And then heading to Las Vegas, Atlanta, or New York, doing the tradeshow junket, I N N O V A T I O N N A T I O N A . t 7 flogging QVC-sryle from dawn to late-nighr, telling bored attendees and punk analysrs that your products are 20 percent bemer For 20 percent less money than the Other Producr Thar They Know Berter. Indeed, you will learn such magnificent about-faces as the one you do when you find out that a much larger competitor has introduced a more or less identical product ("ir validates our market"), but that is nowhere near enough- to compensare For the time yanked out of your short life and left in airport check-in queues, taxis, and hotel rooms. Just try to live a normal life around this schedule: four flights a week, regular friskings, early morning marketing meetinBs, all-day technology strategy sessions, late-night customer dinners, and so little exercise as to be hardly worth the word. So here is Lie #l: Being an entrepreneur i, f"". It's not. Ir is hard work. Some people make it look easy and fun, but some people make being a fugu chef look easy and fun. And as anyone who has eaten poorly prepared fugu would tell you if rhev could, fun doesn't enter into it. Most entrepreneurs fail. Statistics don't lie on this one, so trust me: Assuming you are thinking of creadng a company, or maybe you a.lready have a smallone, your company will almost certainly fail. Present company in this book excluded, rnost entrepreneurs' businesses will assuredly go the way of Pets.com-if they're luclry. Vhy lucky? Because ar Ieast Pets.com had a chance: It raised money and got to rip around the block a few rimes funded by complete strangers' money. A"d there are few pasdmes more fun than spendingfunded by complete strangers' money....
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