A Reflection on the Entrepreneurial Spirit | Day 12

The ideation phase of the entrepreneurial journey is often one of the most isolating. The ideas are constantly coming to you and you relentlessly jot them down, perhaps in a notebook, on a napkin, or in a file on your computer. The ideas accumulate progressively and yet nothing is truly done about them. When you catch the entrepreneurial bug, it’s a though you gain a new pair of glasses with which to view the world – rather than seeing plain phenomena you glimpse at business opportunities left, right, and centre. Volumes of ideas can be recorded, but where is the action?

The inherent problem, I believe, is that the emerging entrepreneurial mind views its ideas as sacred property and thus refuses to share those ideas with others. Without conversation and validation, the ideas remain but volumes of scribbles on a shelf. I’d like to build on this notion of ideational property, as it is perhaps one of the most influential elements in barricading the budding entrepreneur against sharing. The idea, itself, is not the creation of something new but the discovery of something existent. The opportunity has always been present but you were fortunate enough to recognize it for what it was. In short, you are the receiver of an insight that you stumble upon.

Any element of agency that one might presume is undermined by the pure happenstance that surrounds the ideational event. You might be sipping on a latte in a café, looking out the window, when the idea strikes; you might be waking up from a relaxing nap when a thunderbolt of creativity inspires you; you might be going for a jog and observing your surroundings when something clicks in your mind. In these states of being, you are not an active agent – you are an antennae receiving a radio wave of insight. If you are able to see the situation in this light, you’ll be much more willing to share your idea(s) with others in order to see what they think. It is in the dialogue and feedback that you will find the greatest value of sharing your ideas – this ideational exchange is exactly what you need in order to get your feet on the ground and to get your hustle muscles working.

While we were working on our JavaScript and jQuery assignment today, I decided to post about the upcoming Startup Weekend Toronto EDU event that occurs the weekend after our cohort of Bitmaker Labs comes to an end. Within minutes, Stuart approached me to say that he was down for forming a team and that sparked a brilliant exchange of ideas. I pulled out my entrepreneurial notebook and he opened his ideas file: we spent a good 15-20 minutes just talking about our various business ideas. The amusing parallel that I noticed is that we’ve been doing this for quite some time – I, in particular, have scribbling away since about my second year at McGill. While I was advocating the importance of identifying your main projects that you’re willing to devote time to, Peter countered with the equally relevant point that one must also jot down the random ideas – the ones that don’t seem like anything big at the time. Admittedly, the ideas that have the biggest growth potential are always the simplest, indeed, the ones that you would normally pass over.

In any case, although the exchange was fairly brief it was enough to bring confidence and affirmation to my chosen path and to the projects by which such a path shall be trodden. These types of conversations should occur more often, not just at Bitmaker Labs, but in daily life. I suppose the only caveat is that the people with whom you share your ideas must be worthy of the connection – cast not your pearls before swine. The conversation should be an exchange between equals where both have something to contribute to one another. To share one’s ideas is a step in the direction of vulnerability and, as such, one’s partner must reciprocate and partake in the act of sharing. When done properly, the exchange empowers everyone involved. I’m looking forward to having more of these conversations in the future – if there’s anything you want to validate, I’m always willing to lend an ear.

Also read...

Comments are closed.