People in the ecosystem

In recent years I have met with a vast number of people who didn’t even come close to living up to how they represented themselves. This has led to a desire for me (see how I’m avoiding angry words) to share some of my more bitter definitions of people in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Now these don’t apply to everyone; but because I am now bitter and twisted, I tend to take the position of “you’re guilty until you prove otherwise”.

Warning: do not be impressed by these people, until they have proved themselves.

A person who says: “I am an entrepreneur” regardless of their situation. I have met entrepreneurs who were full-time students, full-time employees or even, as I discovered recently, unemployed and looking for a job.

A person who started a business because they were consumed with the irrational belief that they can simply will the universe to change to how they want it to be. And if it doesn’t change, they pretend it did.

Someone who was in the room when the decision to start the venture was made.

Founding employee
A person who was desperate for a job and had no ability to assess risk.

Serial entrepreneur
Someone who has difficulty learning from their mistakes, but finds it easier to start a company than get themselves a job.

Company director
Someone who just spent $600 to register a Pty Ltd company with $2 of paid up capital.

Independent director
Someone who knows absolutely nothing about the industry and very little about the company, but looks good on paper and is happy to fly to exotic locations to receive briefings.

Non-executive director
Someone who is not committed to the business and clearly not adding enough value to get paid more than a graduate salary, however they are prepared to fly to exotic locations for board meetings.

Professional non-executive director
Someone who likes to hedge their bets rather than commit to one company and is committed to getting Chairman’s lounge membership because they spend so much time on a plane.

Someone who is convinced that their ideas are first class, but would not risk their own money to actually validate them “in real life”.

Someone with grey hair who likes to answer questions with questions (and isn’t a German psychiatrist).

One of the 22% of working Australians that completed a university degree.

Commercialisation expert
A public servant who went to university and completed an MBA.

I pass this on in the hope that you will pause and reflect, before falling into the trap of being instantly impressed. And my humble disclosure – I have used at least five of these labels to describe myself at various times.


To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.

Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded: Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.


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