Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Passion and Entrepreneurship

Disclaimer: this is a pretty banal post on a very cliched topic. If you want exciting/juicy, check out how Microsoft bought Nokia for a balmy $0B (thanks Scott).

So I woke up this morning with the goal of getting a post up on the blog. Procrastinating through some writers block, I got into a conversation with a friend who is trying to move from her second tier finance job in upstate NY to a first tier one.

When I mentioned I knew several start ups in Boston hiring (including Athleague!), she responded saying that startups are risky. Fair enough, so I asked her what she was passionate about; her response was deeply saddening: nothing.


What is this crazy world(/country/coast/collection of really cold Northeast cities) we live in? Our brightest graduates of supposedly best institutions of higher learning in the world finally enter the real world - with the passion so thoroughly beaten out of them that they see no better use of their time than to spend the most active and free days of their entire lives sitting at a computer, working on a modern-day abacus to help their boss (to help their boss to help their boss) use their existing pieces of paper (plus the ones they borrow at a discount from the government) to make more pieces of paper, far removed from (and completely apathetic to) any consequences of those abacus findings.

We enjoy the greatest wealth in all of human history, owing it all to the toils of adventurers and entrepreneurs, artists and teachers, explorers and doctors, scientists and musicians, engineers and authors (and 3rd world wage-slave labor and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and indigenous populations - wait, wrong rant). And this is what we're reduced to. It's embarrassing.


Who is to blame? Our schools? Our culture? Or is it you, for letting the external influences cause you to lose sight of who you are. I have no idea, and perhaps that's only the second most important question, the most important being: what is your passion?

The P word, as one our investors fondly reminds me, is one of the most important thing in life. Ask yourself what in your life gives you true, deep happiness. Specifically, ask yourself how these things are related to money, or if they are at all. The whispers of science have joined the wisdom of the ages and begun to pick away at the corporate-driven consumer culture that glorifies wealth and suppresses contentment.

Once you've answered this all-important question, the path from passion to lifestyle is that of the entrepreneur - understanding this system for what it is (a crazy, stupid, but opt-out-able set of rules), and developing a way out of the prison. It can be as simple as the mischevious, slacking banker who spends company time researching the model car he's building on the weekends, as ambitious as the man who resolves to set his country free, or as original as the seemingly crazy person who peacefully lives out his days in bliss on an ashram.

The only guarantees are death and taxes - the rest is up to you. Plot your escape.
Reposted to test my Twitterfeed


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