At any other time, coverage of The face of the entrepreneur It may look like a sales or growth chart; Nowadays it looks like a more casual sand and beach scene. But turn it sideways and the classic optical illusion turns two-faced. Perhaps they are two of the ten entrepreneurs described in the book – Faces – who go through seven stages in an arc: Awakening, Change, The Place, The Launch, The Money, The Challenge, and The Scale. If these deliberately stylized steps sound familiar, that’s because it’s a version of the Hero’s Journey, which is regularly used to structure books about beginners.
The authors describe each of the seven stages briefly, but mainly by following the work of ten different people who represent archetypes and mindsets that entrepreneurs agree with: the creator, the leader, the athlete, the emergent, the visionary, the curator, the leader, the evangelist, the collaborator, and the outsider. These are actual founders, CEOs, and leaders — not all of them from the tech industry — and there are plenty of famous names listed for each archetype. Sadly, all but one of the faces are male, and the only female figure is a nose, which appears to represent a guardian (“Guardians, we are told, protect and liberate people by bringing down obstacles or confronting injustice”).
There is no quiz in the book to help readers identify themselves as a particular face (although there is one on the book’s website that you can get just by providing a name and email address). You may recognize one face as familiar, but as the authors ultimately point out, the most successful entrepreneurs need to take on a variety of roles — something that may be more apparent in workshops where this book is a subtle ad.
For each level, we follow all ten faces. Jumping from one face to another means you don’t get bogged down in a specific narrative that doesn’t tell you, and you see multiple aspects of each level of experience. But the attempt to paint a vivid verbal picture of each entrepreneur has produced many clichés (book-glasses, broad shoulders and classic athletic good looks, a puckish smile, 80s rock-star hair, a flaxen-haired pixie) that can be useful in photographs or caricatures. .
And jumping between faces means you can tell what happened to which person, because a job or company at the end of one episode may be long gone by the time the next episode begins, or because there are too many people to keep track of.
Some faces follow the typical startup story — taking a product design class with the founder of IDEO and reimagining snowshoes so enraged that they abandon any notion of a traditional career to build a snowshoe company, for example, or pursue a law degree at Stanford but build a search engine for a law library on the side. . Others are inspired by friends or family to create or adapt a product to fill a need: portable medicine refrigerators that use the Peltier effect instead of coolant, for example; Or low-lactose ice cream for African consumers who often lose the ability to digest milk as adults. Some move from company to company, doing what they want to do; Others push an idea that doesn’t take off much, but a pivot when the side gig is successful.
Raising money can be easy because you’re in the right place with the right connections, or it can be impossibly difficult, but you need to look elsewhere for insight into the nuts and bolts. Likewise, the coder you hired isn’t great, but there’s too much to steal and worry about in meetings, like what to say and do in meetings, or how to recommend or replace that developer.
Luck or judgment?
The authors don’t try to extract a lot of universal advice from the slices of entrepreneurial life they present, and it’s often difficult to discern the exact connections and what comes down to luck. How about taking a standing desk scale board to show a potential buyer that you work at Google and have hundreds of their colleagues try your sample and order one?
It is good that the authors understand that there is not only one way to success, and it is welcome that not all entrepreneurs are from Silicon Valley (although many of them go there or collect money there). The space can be the right group of people, the people you meet who can help with your ideas, or the ecosystem that pushes or pushes you to push forward. The fact that this level can be broadly interpreted suggests that the framework within which many different journeys are unfolding is one of the most important in understanding.
The Maker’s Journey feels like a bit of a scam because part of their arc they set up a Launchpad accelerator at Stanford University and the students and anonymous startups go through several stages. There is much more to learn from Launchpad than can be covered here.
The narrative is sprinkled with inside stories to keep things interesting. There are issues like Microsoft’s Innovation Outreach Program — an invitation-only forum for a few major companies — and how IBM has invested in design to transform the company, but there are issues that often linger on Capgemini’s grueling negotiations. A building in San Francisco.
The problem of obtaining permits and floor space for any business in San Francisco can be a whole chapter, as it is a problem that many business owners run into for a while after investing in projects. In the same way, it is worth noting how many faces get different aspects of the common problem, which is that if you send your design to China for a factory, you don’t come out, you don’t connect with the company you work with and it may not be right. Check the production line and the products coming out of the line.
To meet ten different faces is to go in and out of their progress, and the ending is rather “and they all succeeded happily”. You’ll read this book not as a detailed guide to scenarios and approaches, but if startup founders and entrepreneurs like magazine profiles, this is a solid read-through if you consider its somewhat cohesive structure. .
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