One of my primary career goals is to promote entrepreneurship in developing nations and all around the world. I love how entrepreneurs can change the world and I think the world needs more people who think positively about what they can do to make a difference and fewer people who sit back and wait for the government or for their company to provide something for them to do. It’s easier to “make meaning” (Guy Kawasaki) when you start your own enterprise.
I recently saw stats that indicated that about 12% of adult Americans would like to start their own business. I know New Zealand and some other countries have a high degree of entrepreneurship as well. I love to see this.
The Entrepreneur’s Manual (1977) suggests that before entrepreneurs start a company they should develop personal requirements including defining what they want from life. This is powerful stuff:
(1) Since your startup is nothing more than a vehicle which will allow you to meet your life’s requirements, your company must be in complete harmony with your personal life style needs.
(2) If you are going to attract strong individuals to join your founders’ team, these individuals will swiftly detect if you are directionless and will lose respect for you. Then they will walk all over you.
(3) If you wish to be an officer and a leader in your own startup, you’ll require a solid personal foundation to cope with the many pithy problems that will arise.
(4) When you go before the venture capitalists [or angel investors] for funding, you’ll discover that they are greatly interested in your motivations and will invest considerable time and efforts to determine what makes you “tick.” These people become greatly disturbed if instead of clear, clean, and well-thought-out replies, you give them weak or fuzzy answers.
(5) The biggest reason for understanding youself is that if you select a startup that is in total harmony with your inner self, then you’ll consider your work as the high point of your day. If you select a startup that is in friction with your real self (it’s easy to do), then your personal goals and objectives will be in discord with your company’s priorities and both you and your company will suffer.
Michael Gerber (E-Myth author) says most new company owners find that they are slaves to their company, rather than the company being a vehicle for their personal satisfaction and prosperity. He gives great advice on how to avoid this (work “on the company” not just “in the company.)
So why is the title of this post, “Blogging for the World” if all I’m doing is talking about entrepreneurship?
Because I have decided that my “inner self” is motivated to share ideas about entrepreneurship with more than just the English-speaking world. I want to blog and provide web resources for entrepreneurs in several languages.
I studied Spanish for several years, then majored in Russian in college. And I have a burning desire to learn Mandarin. But alas, I’m not capable at the present to blog in any of these languages.
So I’m looking for native speakers with business experience who are willing to translate my blog and resources pages into any of several languages, including the following languages:
This isn’t for the money. This is for the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs worldwide, learn with them and from them, and find the satisfaction that comes from helping people, turning strangers into friends, etc.
Think about it. If you can do this or know someone who can, please let me know.
If you know of any multi-lingual entrepreneurial bloggers today, I’d love to know about them.
Yesterday I lectured at a Brigham Young University course titled “Spiritual Issues in Management”. This course is taught by the incredibly talented Yvette Arts and provides 2 religion class credits and 1 business credit. I wonder if any other university offers a course such as this.
I was asked to address the topic of ethics and wealth. I discussed my own experiences in entrepreneurship and raising venture capital and the challenge of overcoming negative feelings against others when the company I founded ended up being controlled by others.
The key for me was reading in the New Testament one morning where the Apostle Paul said (speaking of his very successful missionary labors), “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase; therefore, he that planted is not anything and he that watered is not anything, but God that gave the increase.” (This is my paraphrase)
When it struck me everything we do that prospers is only as a result of God’s gifts to us, and that we should take no credit, I was humbled and immediately freed of my negative emotions about people whom I earlier thought were taking away from me the company that “I had founded.” (Whenever those negative feelings creep back I force myself to think of the powerful spiritual experience I had when God said to me, through his Word, that I am not anything.)
Since then, I have carefully watched how some entrepreneurs and inventors and innovators do give God all the credit. Being freed from the “I built this company and I deserve the most money for doing so” attitude is a wonderful thing. If we give God the credit, and the glory, then whatever we end up with (in terms of material things) is satisfying and full of gratitude. If we end up with nothing, then we can say as Job did, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away: blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I intended to spend most of my lecture talking about my philanthropic heroes, but I had to rush through them in just a few minutes.
My philanthropic heroes are those who give gifts that are perpetual–gifts that bless the world forever. Namely,
- Sir Thomas Bodley, who donated money for the original library at Oxford, now the world-renowned Bodleian Library. King James I quipped once that his name should have been Godly and not Bodley.
- James Smithson, who never set foot in the U.S. but donated the 100,000 pounds to endow what became the Smithsonian Institution
- Leland and Jane Stanford, who built and endowed Stanford University
- Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, who in 2002 publicly said he would give away 99% of his wealth over the next 20 years, much of it to the Omidyar Foundation.
- The LDS Church recently instituted the Perpetual Education Fund, patterned after the 19th century Perpetual Emigrating Fund which helped tens of thousands of impoverished immigrants come from England and Scandinavia to Utah, to start a new life. (One of the immigrants was 14-year old David Eccles, whose family borrowed 70 pounds, and settled in Utah. Within a few decades, David became Utah’s first multi-millionaire. At the time of his death, David Eccles owned 27 businesses and was worth between $10-20 million. There are now a half dozen foundations named after Eccles family members whose total assets exceed, I believe, $1 billion.)The Perpetual Education Fund has already provided loans to about 15,000 students, who on average raise their income levels by 4 times. After repaying their loans, the funds are available to more students. Since education is the key to opportunity in life, this program is centered directly on the thing that has the greatest potential to change and bless the world–increasing human capital.
I can’t fail to mention the Gates Foundation, which I believe has $17 billion in funds and will perpetually bless humankind; or Mohammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and micro-credit lending pioneer which has lifted millions of people from poverty since the 1970s.
There are many, many others, including the Academy for Creating Enterprise (founded by Steve Gibson) which operates presently in the Philippines and has helped more than 600 people learn how to start their own business.
In our own way, small or large, each person has the opportunity to endow a fund or donate to a program (such as PEF) or give a gift to bless our future posterity or the world at large. It might be writing a book containing life lessons and experiences that generations to come will treasure. It might be volunteering or teaching and changing but one life. Everyone can choose to leave a legacy that will be perpetual and thus be immortalized.
Kudos to Patrick Bryne, visionary founder of Overstock.com and Worldstock.com, for providing employment to more than 1,400 artisans and craftsmen in Afghanistan. According to the Afghanistan Ministry of Commerce, Worldstock is the largest single employer in the entire nation of Afghanistan, population 28 million.
This is social entrepreneurship at its best.
God bless you Patrick. And may He help you extend your vision into other developing nations (including Iraq) so that poverty can be reduced worldwide and that God’s children in every nation can be lifted up.