Entrepreneur and Un-entrepreneur characteristics

I’m a big fan of Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz’s From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity. I wrote about it here. It’s about Economics 2.0, as they call it, one key feature of which is putting the entrepreneur front and center — in contrast to much of traditional economics that marginalized or ignored the entrepreneur.

Kling and Schulz offer this table contrasting the characteristics of entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs (click to enlarge):


They follow up with a bite:

“If you look carefully at the right-hand column, you will notice something more than just the fact that these characteristics describe someone who is not well suited to being an entrepreneur. Someone who fits the description of an un-entrepreneur would be perfectly suited in another role — as a bureaucrat.”[1]

And more:

“A stereotypical bureaucrat, whether in a government agency or a large corporation, strives to remain inconspicuous and insulated from customers. Bureaucrats seem to prefer planning to action, and they become unhinged by adversity. They examine failure in order to pin blame and warn against recurrence, rather than to look for new opportunities.”[2]

Sounds right to me.

But a question about the traits: When we debate politics and economics, to what extent are we driven by such psychological dispositions, whether inborn or acquired?

That is, setting aside arguments based on economics, politics, and philosophy, how much of this psychology explains the difference between those with an entrepreneurial, free-market orientation — and those who thrive in cronyist corporations, those who advocate for “Third-Way” policies, and even those who desire centrally-planned political-economies?

[1] Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz, From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity, Encounter Books, 2009, p. 194.
[2] Ibid., p. 195.

The book has been re-issued as Invisible Wealth: The Hidden Story of How Markets Work (2011).

“What Justifies Liberal Capitalism: Are Hayek’s, Rand’s, and Friedman’s Answers Compatible?” My 2013 Atlas Summit lecture

The one-hour video of my lecture is at the Atlas Society site and at YouTube. The lecture starts at 3:40, after the introduction, and is about 45 minutes long, followed by a question-and-answer session. The sub-topics are:
* 13 initial arguments for liberal capitalism.
* Some quotations from Mises, Schumpeter, Jouvenel, Smith, Hayek, Mill, Rand, Locke, and Friedman.
* Two puzzles about justifying capitalism:
* (a) Deontology or consequentialism — e.g., is Rand a deontologist?
* (b) Individualism and collectivism — e.g., do Mises, Hayek, and Friedman see individuals only as a means to social ends?
* Solving the two puzzles.

Transcript of “13 arguments for liberal capitalism in 13 minutes.”
The program for the 2014 Atlas Summit in New Hampshire, where I’ll be speaking on “Corruption in Business: Does Regulation Lessen or Increase It?”

Interview with Zoltan Cendes now online

k29-coverMy Kaizen interview with entrepreneur Zol Cendes on the theme of Entrepreneurial Software is now posted at the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship site.

I met Mr. Cendes in Naples, Florida, to discuss his experience founding Ansoft, a $900 million software company that revolutionized engineering modeling.

The interview was originally published in Issue 29 of Kaizen [pdf].

Entrepreneurship and Virtue Ethics

In this 21-minute video lecture, Entrepreneurship and Virtue Ethics, I connect the success traits of entrepreneurs (e.g., initiative, guts, win-win trade, and so on) with moral virtues (e.g., integrity, courage, justice, and so on).

My thesis is that what is practical in business and what is moral are tightly integrated — in contrast to the often-stated separation thesis which holds that business success and moral goodness are categorically distinct.

This video lecture is a follow up to The Entrepreneurial Process — What Makes Entrepreneurs Tick? and is part of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship’s “Entrepreneurship and Values” series of short lectures by entrepreneurs and academics including John Chisholm, Alexei Marcoux, Terry Noel, Robert Salvino (forthcoming), and William Kline (forthcoming).

My “What Business Ethics Can Learn from Entrepreneurship” [pdf], originally published in Journal of Private Enterprise, 24(2), Spring 2009, 49-57. Also online at the Social Science Research Network, at Amazon in Kindle e-book version, in Serbo-Croatian and Spanish translations, and in audio format (MP3 and YouTube).

Kaizen 29: The Zol Cendes interview

Entrepreneurial Software

k29-coverThe latest issue of Kaizen [pdf] features my interview with Zoltan Cendes. We met in Naples, Florida, to discuss Mr. Cendes’s experience founding Ansoft, a $900 million software company that revolutionized engineering modeling.

My favorite images from this issue show the uses of Ansoft’s software in improving the air and fluid dynamics for products such as Ferrari sports cars and the swim caps used by Michael Phelps in the Olympics.


Also featured in this issue of Kaizen are guest speakers John Chisholm, an entrepreneur from San Francisco, and Robert Lawson, a professor of economics from Dallas, along with two students, Amour Muro and Alex Patnou, who were the co-winners of CEE’s essay contest in Business and Economic Ethics.

pathlines-gt2ferrariPrint copies of Kaizen are in the mail to CEE’s supporters and are available at Rockford University.

Our next issue will feature an extended interview with Guillermo Yeatts on the theme of Entrepreneurship in Latin America.

More Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs are at my site here or CEE’s site.

The Innovator’s DNA — and Montessori education

Hal Gregersen, co-author of The Innovator’s DNA (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011), innovators-dna identifies the often-shared traits of innovators, but then makes this striking point about how the innovative became innovative:

“‘It’s fascinating when we interview these famous entrepreneurs to realise that they grew up in worlds where adults paid attention to these innovation skills.’ Most often these adults were parents and grandparents, but in about one-third of the cases they were master teachers at Montessori or Montessori-like schools” [italics added].

Nicholas Bray, “The DNA of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.” INSEAD. July 21, 2011.
My Montessori Education page.
“What Makes Entrepreneurs Tick.” Part of CEE’s Entrepreneurship and Values series.

John Chisholm — “Unleash Your Inner Company” talk

In this 20-minute “Unleash Your Inner Company” talk, entrepreneur John Chisholm (San Francisco) discusses:
* the values that motivate entrepreneurs; chisholm-john-headshot
* the mutually-reinforcing traits of passion and perseverance;
* finding unique customers needs;
* fitting those needs to one’s own uniqueness, strengths, and weakness;
* how entrepreneurs are leaders;
* his own entrepreneurial experiences;
* similarities and differences between major companies such as Apple, H-P, and IBM;
* and the ethics of entrepreneurship in contrast to predation and altruism.
Here also is the STAARRS doc [Word] that Chisholm uses as a self-assessment worksheet.

Chisholm’s talk is part of our Entrepreneurship and Values series. Other lecturers in the series include Alexei Marcoux, William Kline, Terry Noel, Robert Salvino, and me.

Cross-posted at CEE.

Full Kaizen interview with entrepreneur Surse Pierpoint

surseMy full interview with Panama’s Surse Pierpoint is now posted at the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship’s site. The theme of the interview is Entrepreneurial Logistics in Panama. An abbreviated version was published last month in Kaizen.

Be sure to read about how conquering malaria enabled the successful effort to build the Panama Canal early in the twentieth century, how Pierpoint’s company operates in Panama’s Free Trade Zone, how the huge expansion of the Canal is changing world transportation logistics, and more. panama-skyline

From the introduction: Surse Pierpoint is General Manager and shareholder in Colón [Columbus] Import-Export, a firm located in the Panama Canal Free Zone. Colón provides logistics, warehousing, and customized re-labeling services for a variety of international companies, including Procter & Gamble, DHL, Payless Shoes, Novartis, and Eli Lilly. Pierpoint is a third-generation Panamanian who received his undergraduate and graduate education in the United States before returning to Panama to pursue his business career, which now includes being President of the Free Zone Users’ Association and part of a consortium of investors developing a new marina k28-cover-500pxon Panama’s Caribbean coast.

The whole story is here.

More of my Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs.