Entrepreneurial Spirit


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Last night at the Tech/no seminar, Biz Stone spent a good amount of time talking about stories from his life that led to his success. One of my favorite stories was about his high school sports career, and the idea that if an opportunity isn’t there, you can always make one for yourself.

I really liked this idea, and if given more time I would have liked to hear him expand on it. When starting high school, Stone tried out for basketball, football, and baseball. He didn’t make any of the teams and instead found a sport that didn’t exist at his school. He and a group of kids started the lacrosse team. The story hints at the entrepreneurial spirit in Biz Stone even at a younger age. There wasn’t room in the existing sports market, and therefore Stone founded a “startup” sport.

While the message of the story is clear, I left the talk a little confused. While im not doubting the time and effort put into starting a new sport, its curious why he didn’t mention how the team did compared to other teams. I wonder if he is willing to admit they settled for mediocracy. Maybe they were in fact very good.

In the end, I think that regardless of how well the team did, the ability to go outside your comfort zone and explore something new takes a lot of talent. Regardless of whether or not his Lacrosse team “failed” it was definitely instrumental in Biz Stone’s entrepreneurial development. In other cases, Biz praised failure, as it allows us to develop by recognizing what we did wrong.

If given the chance, I would have asked Biz how well his team did, and if it even mattered. The story is about manufacturing your own opportunities, but if you are only mediocre in these manufactured opportunities, are they still a success?

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4 thoughts on “Entrepreneurial Spirit

  1. I think it depends on what Biz’s goals were. Judging from the short time we heard him speak, Biz seems like the type of guy that values the journey as much as the trophy. If Biz’s goal was to start a sports team, enable his peers to try lacrosse for the first time ever, and have a great time with friends, then he likely accomplished what he sought out for. If he wasn’t doing it for the trophy, then why measure success as wins and losses, and therefore no need to state it to us as so.

    Also the way he talked about Twitter, it seems as if Biz was simply trying to create a cool and useful tool. Not necessarily all about money, but rather a creation to impact humanity. If things turned out differently, and Twitter was considered financially “mediocre,” Biz would have likely still considered it as much of a success as it is perceived today.

  2. I agree with Austin about how Biz appears to measure success. One of my favorite annecdotes that he said was when someone deemed twitter as “useless.” Biz replied- “well so is ice cream! Are we supposed to rid the world of all thing fun in the name of being useful?” I would also argue that twitter has become useful over time. With the popularity of smart phones in addition to Twitter, getting the most recent news on current events and world news is faster and easier than ever.

  3. I think Meg is right. In the beginning, many people may have thought that Twitter was useless. However, over time it has become another tool for people to keep in touch with one another and to keep track of current events. With technology being so prominent in our lives, social media sites like Twitter are increasingly important.

  4. His win-loss record on start-ups is like 2-8 or something like that. Most successful entrepreneurs have pretty “bad’ records because most start-ups fail. Also, may “on paper’ very good entrepreneurs do everything they can to be successful, but their efforts don’t lead to moderate or even big success.

    Given the kinds of high bars of success private and/or elite schools expect from applicants and then students, it is possible they do not foster the robust attitude to failure that is necessary to create value in start-ups.

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