Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Noah Smith - Believe in yourself, for my benefit.

So there are theoretical reasons to believe that overconfident entrepreneurs are more likely to benefit society than they are to benefit themselves. If you try to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, chances are you're taking on a lot more risk than you would take if you weren't such an overconfident nut. But without overconfident nuts like you, our economy will be poorer and our society will be more stagnant.
So, by all means, young entrepreneur, believe in skill! Believe that you, not the person sitting next to you, will be the next tech billionaire. You're probably wrong. But the chance that you might be right is enough to make your quixotic madcap adventure worth it for the rest of us.
Read it at Noahpinion
Believe in yourself, for my benefit.
By Noah Smith

One of my college roommates always envisioned being a successful entrepreneur (and probably will be one day). His natural way of thinking led to frequent innovative ideas as potential business opportunities. My natural way of thinking is to focus on the operational aspects of any idea. What is the market? How costly is the product to produce? What are reasonable expectations for profit margins? This combination of personalities led to a constant back and forth of creative ideas versus practicality of actually running that business.

In my opinion (hopefully his too), our debates were ultimately very beneficial to both parties. He taught me not to get bogged down in the details and I helped him to probably avoid wasting time on profit-less ideas. The point is, between my roommate and I, he is far more likely to believe in his skill as an entrepreneur and take those risks. While there is certainly a role for the micro-thinkers, our society clearly benefits from those individuals willing to pursue out-of-the-box ideas. For all of our sakes, I hope that he and many others will give entrepreneurship a run (although I obviously hope my old roommate is the next Zuckerberg).

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