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Misfit Entrepreneurs (hbr.org)
141 points by Geea on July 21, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

Beautiful paragraph:

"To embrace the misfit in oneself is to be vulnerable. It is to forsake the easy acceptance that comes with fitting in and to instead be fortified by a kind of love, really. A love of life, a love of wonder, and, ultimately, a sustaining love for oneself. Far from egoism, that love for oneself is a measure of one's love for others, for humanity. And it is only from love that great ideas can be born."

And, that's why, when people were creeped out with the amount of times Steve Jobs said that he "loves our customers", I just thought, "well that's nice of him".

You see, he doesn't love them individually, he loves what he provides for them, and vice versa.

That said, cue the scene from "Idiocracy" where the protaganists walk into Costco :D


Agreed. This whole article is uncharacteristically beautiful for HBR.

That paragraph alone made me vote up the original article and shed a few empathizing tears inside.

Unfortunately, then I go read about how we've killed the Gulf of Mexico http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1536572, and my blood boils and hatred for this world grows.

Such is the life of an entrepreneur, I suppose. Full of love and hatred. Full of contradictions.

full of passion for gaining and keeping values

This really struck a chord with me. As I walk into work everyday, I always think, why can't I be happy like every other guy walking into work.

All I want to do in the crowded elevator at work is to bleat out, like sheep, "Baaa baaa baaa". I always think how funny that would be. :)

Infact I would say I've lost a good chunk of income - (40,000 a year?) just paying for my "individuality". I've done this by telling bosses what I thought about their ideas and that (and yes I've used these words in verbatim) "I can only do things that _I_ feel are right. You can give me advice, but I might not follow it.". So I've lost out on a few promotions and money.

I've received scorn, been laughed at and sometimes even received "pity" from some of my friends who do whatever their bosses tell them to do and are getting compensated well for it.

And the whole reason I've done this is because I've always felt that:

1. The only thing that will help me to be independent in the future as an entrepreneur is to be independent right now.

2. If I lose this ability to be myself, I lose everything - ie the ability to ever hope to start my own thing.

Now I might be completely wrong about this and I might have gone to extremes at time, but this concept of "being a misfit" is something I've cherished. Hopefully in the near future, when I have my own venture again, we'll see if I was right and whether this is as valuable as I've always thought :).

At the very least, I can say that its never been boring :).

(Background: The reason I've not been able to start my own thing fulltime has been because of a green card. But now I finally have it and have given myself a 5 month window to start with my side project hopefully being my second venture.)

Vulnerability is the ultimate test of confidence. It is the willingness to let others judge you and subject yourself to their mis-belief. To make yourself vulnerable requires a solid grounding that isn't dependent on other's approval.

Inevitably, great entrepreneurs live in a world of vision that is beyond what their peers will allow themselves to believe. Th author of this article is right on in describing great ideas as an expression of love. It is the same as athleticism. Great athletes push the boundaries of what human beings are capable of, and anyone who has pursued an athletic endeavor knows that when we reach the brink of our ability the motivation is primal and pure.

So much of what we do is in an effort to protect ourselves, maybe it would be worth it to spend more time exposing our weakness to the world and becoming more sensitive to honesty and integrity.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the author means by "vulnerable" here. Seems like a mellifluous but semantically empty use of the word.

I read sensitive when he says vulnerable. and direct vulnerability: "This kind of love cannot be taught in business school. It has to be felt. It has to be given sanctuary away from the noise and relentless assault of information. And then it has to be nurtured. It must be embraced, in the light of day, for all to see, for people to ridicule, to criticize, to laugh at. And the entrepreneur has to be willing to feel the pain of that ridicule and suffer the risk of the dream being stolen, or crushed by the meanness of this world."

Mmm, I think I'm getting it. So it's the idea that they actually have something to lose, instead of just doing the "normal" things and thereby not having to incur this risk of pain?

Great article. I disagree though with the notion that being vulnerable is the common trait. Definitely being a misfit is. As the article says "the great entrepreneur in 2010 is the one who goes to Disneyland and asks: is this all there is?"

Always question what everyone takes for granted.

I do not find anything new in this article. A very hideous way of saying entrepreneurs need to chanllege the status quo.

I agree for the most part, it was a very poetic, feel-good way of saying that entrepreneurs look at the world differently.

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