Making Your Leap

August 19th, 2011
[ Guelph Tech ]

I want you to be an entrepreneur.

I agree with Chris Dixon that there are two kinds of people in the world, those who’ve started a company and those who haven’t. Upon first read, that post comes off exclusionary but his first sentence says it all, “You’ve either started a company or you haven’t” and that’s a fact.

areyouSo it’s a fact, no different than saying you’ve either snowboarded or you haven’t, you’ve either skydived or you haven’t. All of which can change tomorrow. Hell, you can snowboard, skydive and start a company tomorrow.

Entrepreneurs are born right? Even if this is true, born talent has to be cultivated. In Canada we may have the beginnings of one but do not currently have a true thriving startup ecosystem.

That means most of our born entrepreneurial talent sits in a cubicle right now, reading this post twitching when someone walks by in case it’s their team lead. Are those jobs cultivating that entrepreneurial talent in any fashion? Clearly not. That talent is wasting away filling out 360 reviews, building a case for their next promotion, job title, salary raise, or simply trying not to be fired.

I’m someone who enjoys working for myself but it is not for everyone. I love defining and chasing real goals. I have a low tolerance for the gamification inside companies. At their worst, companies are thinly veiled skinner boxes. Building your own company is real. You define a customer/market and you either deliver real value or you fail. There are no buffers between the two. You can’t miss that mark but nail your 360 review in order to live another day.

Not everyone can handle those realities, which is why companies make a lot of money building and maintaining that buffer for you. That’s part of the reason we need large corporations and entrepreneurs. Companies protect you from some harsh realities and they get paid well to make decisions for you. They pimp you out and take a healthy cut on doing so. They decide what your health care should be, how much vacation you have, what time you wake up, how much money you will make, what you spend 3/4 of your life doing, etc. If you aren’t ready to be in control of all that, and more, then keep paying your company to handle that for you.

For the few of us who crave the autonomy, freedom and thrill of those realities, how the hell do you make that first step? If you were lucky enough to work at paypal or amazon in the early days then you’re set. You’ve seen it, you know what it looks like, how it walks, what it’s days look like. You’re already spending your days with Dave hammering it out. For the rest of us, the gap between corporate life and startup founder is monstrous.

In my opinion the key to bridging that gap is getting out of those environments and surrounding yourself with experienced, operating entrepreneurs. Yes, you need to pay your bills, build your network, and eventually develop an idea/project but if you have a job today the best thing you can do is immersion.

I want to help you with that. I want to move our coworking space here at ThreeFortyNine in Guelph away from being straight up coworking to being a halfway house for software entrepreneurs. For those ready to take a shot, I want to help you get there.

If any of this rings true, please have a look and see if is for you?

This is all early stage, highly speculative so I need feedback on the concept but ultimately I need to know if you’re interested in seeing this become real, so please let me know!