There’s a lot of misconceptions about entrepreneurship, and perhaps at the top of that list is the notion that entrepreneurs have to be brilliant innovators. As a society, we deservedly hail the incredible feats of visionary founders who inspire us to look at the world in new ways.
Think for a minute what retail would be like if Jeff Bezos hadn’t explored the possibility of selling books online? How would we find old friends if Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t conceived the idea of a digital yearbook? Maybe most important of all, what would our lives be like if Larry Page and Seregy Brin didn’t tinker with the opportunity of ‘organizing all the world’s information’.
Like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford before them, these masterminds come around once in a lifetime; and although society will forever be grateful for their contribution, their example isn’t typical of today’s entrepreneur. Babson professor Daniel Isenberg has spent 30 years building businesses, financing entrepreneurs, and counseling executives, and in his latest book, Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value, he pays particular attention to the importance of having a profit motive; here’s why.