Entrepreneurs are Irrational – Hubris, Passion and Customer Development –

Steve Blank
Lecturer, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Over the last 25 years, Steve Blank has been part of, or co-founded, eight Silicon Valley start-ups, which ran the gamut from semiconductors and video games, to personal computers and supercomputers (MIPS, Zilog, Rocket Science, SuperMac, Convergent Technologies, Ardent, ESL).

“It’s not a career choice. Entrepreneurship is a calling—and you shouldn’t be doing it because your friends are doing it. You should be doing it because it’s a virus that’s gotten into your head, and you need to get it out of your system.”

Sometimes entrepreneurship pays off, but many times it doesn’t. The winners in the start-up game are marked by burning desire —and just a smidge of the irrational.

To Steve Blank, a true entrepreneur isn’t simply someone who starts a business. It’s the person who believes that, with the success of their ideas, they will change the world. But the reality of life at the helm of a start-up isn’t easy. And it’s the reason he actually tries to discourage most of his students from following the entrepreneurial path.

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