I Cannot Codify Entrepreneurship, And Neither Can You, And Here’s Why.

337.365 - December 3, 2010

There was a point not all that long ago when I was pretty sure I could codify entrepreneurship. I’d heard plenty of stories, and talked to plenty of entrepreneurs, and I was seeing a lot of the same themes repeat. I thought that if I could just ID specific points along the way, I could explain how to master this thing.

Then I discovered that this isn’t a board game. There aren’t logical, sequential steps. There are common themes, but there isn’t any sense to how this works. Entrepreneurship is a cross between a Choose Your Own Adventure book and Mad-Libs — it’s weird, and deeply personal, and subject to both non-sequitors and randomness.

I read this fantastic quote from KissMetrics’ Hiten Shah that reminded me of just why that is. It’s in a post about how to find the right mentors. He writes:

“That’s the thing about mentoring that people need to understand: It’s about the strength of the individual to weather the unrelenting storm that is entrepreneurship, not acquiesce to some rigid timeline of entrepreneurial life milestones.”

Spot on. Entrepreneurship is this mix of all the stuff I love about life — it’s risk, and chance, and success, and failure, and this quest to be unrelentingly awesome — just condensed into something tangible. It’s the venue through which I’ve chosen to explore the world, and nobody’s going to be able to tell me what the right path is, or where the milestones are.

The only path is the one I choose, and the people I surround myself with have to be capable of helping me answer the questions I need to answer along the way. I need to find lots of people who can challenge me, and who I can listen to. But ultimately, they’re not going to be able to tell me if I’m doing this thing the right way.

The only way to figure that out is to do it and see what happens.