10:30-12:30 Coordinating email communication for the Professional Committee in Delta Sigma Pi(Business Fraternity) PM
1:00-3:00 Meeting for my consulting startup Veridical Group with client from Re/Max
6:00-8:00 Professional and Resume Meeting with a Delta Sigma Pi member
8:00-10:00 Facilitator of the Think Tank
10:00-12:00 Econ HW due midnight AM
12:00-3:00 Structure, stratagize, and discuss Think Tank status and future with leader
3:00-4:30 Drive home and coordinate emails regarding the Think Tank, Veridical Group, and DSP
4:30-5:00 Write this blog
Life is leading me towards exciting places, and I cannot wait to be able to create more value for people in this world. I rather have a busy schedule/life with meaning than a chill schedule/life that does not stand for anything. At this point, only school is an annoying drag, and I need to spend more time on my large Startup: FD World.
This morning, around 1:00AM, I was getting gas on gayley, and a homeless guy approached me seeking for some change. I only had a twenty, so I told him I would go to the store, buy something, and give him a dollar or two. While I was walking towards it, I thought why don’t I just also buy something for him. He told me there isn’t something in that store he needs, but he needs to buy hot soup for him and his wife at Ralphs. I offered to drive him to Ralph and buy soup with him instead.
So on the car we had a good chat. We talked a bit about the government, people, annoying paperworks, geeks and the Geek Squad. Tony is homeless for awhile because he didn’t get the paperwork in, and so the government canceled his welfare until next month. Long time ago he used to be a factory worker in a chemical factory, and he accidentally got hurt, and since then had no ability to do good work. I asked him if he had hobbies if he was able to have any, and he said, “not really, maybe crossword puzzles.”
When we got to Ralphs, since it was so late, there were no hot soup. I then offered to buy him a whole roasted chicken. He was ultra-grateful and thanked me continuously. I told him the truth, that it was simply from the mercy of the Lord. I then offered to have him and his wife drop by my place some time so I can make some food to eat together. He liked the idea, but he said he can’t make a decision for both him and his wife, hence he cannot say yes to it. I told him I respect his care for his wife’s opinion.
Afterwards, he thanked me and told me he didn’t want to trouble me anymore. I told him to take a good rest because it is late at night, and make sure he doesn’t rest hungrily. He said that whenever I see him around, stop by because he wants to somehow pay me back if he could. I told him not to worry about it.
Anyway, I’m telling this not because I want to let people know that behind the craziness, I’m a pretty nice guy, but just to express that there are too little events like these that occur in society. I figured that $8 to me is worth A LOT less than $8 to this guy, and I thought it was an overall gain in the transaction. I know a lot of these homeless people choose to be like that, and buy drugs with new money, but there are poor fellas who just ended in a bad place due to bad luck. I am not asking people to sacrifice that extra boba, starbucks, or jamba juice money to the homeless people, but simply to be kind and express care. I think talking to them like a real person and expressing care is more valuable to these people than a couple quarters.
I am an entrepreneur, and believe I have the qualities of one. However, I feel that the term Entrepreneurship is used too generically. An entrepreneur could be one who opened his/her coffee shop. It could be a scientist who made a new technology and started his own business. It could be a high school kid starting a lawn mowing service. It could be someone finding students to tutor or making money through a one-page website. So what does it mean when I say “I am an entrepreneur?” Which one am I? How do people know?
Yes, I understand the key characteristic is the Entrepreneurial Spirit, in which flows commonly between persistent entrepreneurs, big and small. Many well-known entrepreneurs started off their careers providing a simple service, hence the common reference of the lemonade stand. But I would like to create different classification of Entrepreneurs. Just like Eskimos have more than a dozen words for different kinds of snow, entrepreneurs should have clearer terms for what they do.
I think the type of entrepreneur should be classified by these traits:
Scale: how many employees, customers, revenue etc.
Difficulty in Initiation: requires permits and regulations, fund raising, new technology, patents.
Opportunity Cost: what he needs to give up in order to become an entrepreneur. Could they make $200,000 a year anyway if they didn’t start the business?
Creativity/Originality: truly created something new in society, or just following the trend.
Risk Associated: what do you lose if you fail?
Past Ventures/Experience: whether or not this venture is the first one. Also, one who failed once is often greater than one who succeeded once, because anyone could fail, but it is more entrepreneurial for one to fail and not give up.
With these means of measurement, I made some classifications. Some entrepreneurs fit in two or more of these categories, but I don’t see that as a problem. In addition, many people start with one, acquire experience, and slowly move to a different group.
Classification 1: Solo-Service Entrepreneur
Usually a sole proprietorship (just him/herself) with friends as customers. It’s most often a service that requires time but little or no investment. There are few opportunity costs as Solo-Service Entrepreneur sare mostly students who are selling gum or mowing someone’s lawn. The tasks are usually generally not original. Needless to say, they have limited experiences in entrepreneurship.
Classification 2: Commodity Entrepreneur
These are entrepreneurs who make healthy investments to start something that is somewhat saturated in the market. This means you can find many similar businesses that do the same thing. Most restaurants and coffee shops, as well as common commodity businesses are within this category. They usually follow what the Opportunity Entrepreneur does after it becomes common and adapted. When asked why they started that business, it is usually not because they see a special demand or a better way to do things in the market, but simply because they think it would be interesting (“I always wanted to open a flower shop”), or they are good at the technical work of that business and want to open a business with that skill. Real Estate would be categorized as Commodity Entrepreneurship.
For those who don’t know, network marketing is the pyramid way of doing business, where you do business, and you recruit other people to run divisions under you. They do the same, and you get some commission from those under. It’s legit business as they truly create some value, as long as they are actually selling a valuable product or service. I feel like the initialization process for this type of entrepreneur is too easy, and the opportunity often comes to search for you with full force, not the other way around (entrepreneurs create opportunities themselves). I feel this is more of a salesman/manager than an entrepreneur, as even though one needs to make entrepreneurial tactical decisions, nothing truly new is created. You just follow someone’s model, use someone’s equipment, and have relatively small investment and risk. 80% of the business is worked out for you. Most people can start without any past experience (as a Starting Entrepreneur). However, it is true that the same problems with stress and creativity runs in Network Marketing, so it is still considered entrepreneurial.
Classification 4: Opportunity Entrepreneur
Opportunity Entrepreneurs look at the newest trends, figure out what works, and do it. They usually identify some competitive advantage and start something that exists, except better. The scale is usually decent and initial investment is usually pretty large. Starting is difficult because one needs to go through all regulations and registrations as well as obtain decent capital. Risk is relatively high because it is hard to rightly evaluate which market trends can be followed and have the technical abilities and timing to do it well. Creativity/Originality is based on how the entrepreneur picks the business and the creative processes to get a solid edge, but it is not completely innovative. In an Economics graph of supply and demand, these are the people that “shift the supply curve forward” when there seems to be profit in an industry. Finally, Opportunity Entrepreneurs often have some past experience as a Solo-Service Entrepreneur.
Classification 5: Innovation Entrepreneur
These people create something new, something no one else has ever done in an industry. They identify something that does not exist yet is missing, and they do what it takes to make it happen. The scale usually would be pretty big in order to bring something completely new into the market. The difficulty in initiation is extremely high, especially in some industries. However, the strongest characteristic about an Innovation Entrepreneur is that they think outside the box, and are willing to take huge risks, as nothing has indicated this business would work at all!
Classification 6: High Tech Entrepreneur
The High Tech Entrepreneur can be some of the most respectable in terms of being entrepreneurial. Instead of creating improvements or introducing something good in an industry, they create industries. These guys invented computers and start the entire computer industry. They invented automobiles and started the automobile industry with all its parts and accessories. As you can tell, it is incredibly hard to initiate such a business. Investments, creativity level, and risk are all extremely high. You are investing for something that might not even be created! (let along being tested and proven) These companies usually need to be backed up by Venture Capitalists, and it also has a high chance of failing due to technology competition (someone might be already almost done with what you are trying to make when you are still mindlessly inventing).
It takes a true Entrepreneur to spend this much time, money, money forfeited elsewhere, and energy for this huge a risk. However, there must not be a mix-up between Inventors and Entrepreneurs. There are cases where the Inventor is also an Entrepreneur (or Entrepreneurial), but many times simply knowing the technological work of making a new product does not make one an Entrepreneur. Inventors create new great products, but entrepreneurs create new great businesses.
Classification 7: Escape Entrepreneur
Some people go on their ventures because they simply want to make a lot of money and/or want to be their own boss. In essence, they are entrepreneurs because they want to “escape” from something else. These are wrong motives and usually result in a failing business (unfortunately, this is the majority of people who start businesses, and is part of why so many businesses fail.) Often times, these entrepreneurs fail because they realize that being an entrepreneur means working twice as much as having a job, and getting paid 1/3 of it, especially in early years. The “grind” will often make them lose motivation and “escape” back to their former career.
So the big four accounting firms have long names like PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and such, and the reason for that is that accounting firms combine together and form a larger firm, and their original names were often named after the founders’ last names.
If this exact same phenomenon would happen in China, than this dialogue would happen:
“Hey, where do you work at?”
“Oh, I work at Chou Yang & Lee.”
“NO WAY! That’s like, one of the largest firms in China! I only work for Chen Chou Wang…”
“Haha, that’s ok. It’s still a formidible firm.”
“What about me? I work for Liu Lee & Chan.”
“Umm, never heard of that one. Probably sucks.”