Group Of Nations Embraces Inclusive Entrepreneurship To Reduce Global Poverty.

In The Ethics Of Capitalism, leading economist Jesus Huerta de Soto argues that the most just society will be the society that most forcefully promotes the entrepreneurial creativity of all the human beings who compose it. When we think of a global society, we can then understand that entrepreneurship is the path away from injustice, and from poverty, for all the world.

At the G7-G20 Solutions Through Inclusivity Virtual Summit on Nov 17, 2021, I’ll be making this case along with my colleagues Dr. Dale Caldwell from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Professor Scott Livengood from Arizona State University.

Entrepreneurship is a philosophy of universal individual creativity and capability. Everyone has a sense of how the world can be made better, and entrepreneurship is the universal method of achieving that betterment. It starts with an attitude that all people share: a continual eagerness to seek out, discover, create or identify new benefits, and better conditions. Economists use the term value – a feeling that the new circumstances suit people better than the status quo. People aim at experiencing value.

Entrepreneurial creativity is a shared activity of consumers and producers. It’s hard to say where it begins, and the co-creation never ends. We might say that consumers or customers initiate the process by expressing dissatisfaction – the feeling that things could be better, and they’re not better yet. They don’t know the solution to their dissatisfaction, and they may not be able to articulate it very well, but they have the feeling. Every human being feels it in some way, every day, everywhere in the world. Dissatisfaction is a universal resource for entrepreneurial initiative.

The role of the entrepreneurial producer is to sense this dissatisfaction. The entrepreneur’s antennae are always up and quivering, scanning the environment for dissatisfaction they can utilize as the source of an idea. There’s a skill for doing this well: we call it empathy. Empathy is the ability to think as if you were inside the customer’s mind, feeling what they are feeling, experiencing their emotions. Empathy can be refined as a business skill, but it’s inherent in everyone. It’s how the human race gets along. It’s the principle behind every trade and every exchange. The entrepreneur understands how to make the customer feel less dissatisfaction, and more satisfaction through trade. The closer the entrepreneur and customer are connected – the deeper the empathy – the better the producer becomes at satisfying the need, and the happier the customer becomes in the confidence that their needs can and will be met.

All of these feelings, this empathy, and this creativity come naturally to people all over the globe. Entrepreneurship is the human condition. It’s the social coordination function of matching people’s most important wants with the available resources and goods and services that fulfill those wants.

Where people might need some help is in implementation of this coordination function. That’s where the concept of Entrepreneur Zones or EZones comes in – the idea that Dr. Caldwell and Professor Livengood and I are presenting to the Group Of Nations. The word “Zones” implies a physical location – and that’s exactly what we envision. An EZone can be located anywhere in the world, and it’s particularly appropriate for the energetic uplifting of a place that is currently in need – a developing nation, for example, or an underdeveloped inner-city in any of the developed countries, or a community anywhere.

One of the steps in EZone development is training – encouraging the entrepreneurial mindset and communicating the steps of the entrepreneurial process. It’s a knowledge process and the requisite knowledge is available to all: it’s subjective (we all have individual knowledge); practical (how to help people); it’s exclusive because it’s individual and that has immense economic value; tacit, meaning it’s not well articulated, but we can draw it out of people through encouragement; and it’s creative, i.e. doesn’t require any resources, it’s developed out of nothing. When people understand the economic worth of their own knowledge, then we can teach them how to apply that knowledge in helping others to improve their lives. There are many pathways available to them. The formal technique is the value proposition, which includes a precise identification of the customer and their wants, and a precise description of what offer the entrepreneur will develop to assuage their wants. This proposition is easily testable – we can teach that, too.

A tested value proposition requires a business model and a development process to bring it to market. The process is also teachable and demonstrable. Part of the process is assembly of resources, including capital, but also supportive services and supply chains. We can teach the assembly methods, and make connections to all the resources, including how to negotiate, contract and collaborate in win-win arrangements.

Professor Livengood teaches entrepreneurship at the university level in the USA, and he has also gained first-hand experience with transferring and recalibrating that training for the poorest displaced refugees in camps in Africa. He discovered that the principles, processes, and practices remain the same, and that language and communication must be fine-tuned to the specific audience, in order to give them the confidence that successful entrepreneurship is in their reach. Dr. Caldwell is an active pastor as well as a university professor, and he has intimate first-hand knowledge of the entrepreneurial potential of people in deprived communities. Both Professor Livengood and Dr. Caldwell exemplify the multi-level applicability of the entrepreneurial method to the pursuit and achievement of prosperity for everyone.

Entrepreneurship is the best path upwards for every community. It’s moral, ethical, and economically sound. Entrepreneurship is the engine of prosperity and growth. It’s exciting and energizing for everyone in the community. The economic gains are broad and deep. Families are strengthened through both shared purpose and reliable income. The kids are better nourished and perform better at school. Violence and anti-social behavior are reduced because people are concentrating on economic opportunity. Jobs are created so that everyone in the community feels their own part of the opportunity. New services are drawn to the EZone, improving the quality of life. Larger companies come to town, attracted by the high-energy workforce and the quality of life in the community. The entrepreneurial community connects to the world and serves markets all over the globe while receiving new inbound services. Improved technology comes to town. Churches enjoy more attendance and their pastors feel renewed. The uplift is general and universal. There’ll be more communities looking over, liking what they see, and jumping on the bandwagon.

You can see the agenda for the Group Of Nations Summit here, register to attend here, and read more about the Solutions Through Inclusivity Summit here.

141. Bharat Kanodia: How Subjective Value Generates Valuation In Business

All value is subjective. But often, when an exchange is to be made, a numerical value is required. It’s a special kind of economic calculation, what Bharat Kanodia terms “a subjective opinion based on objective facts”.

Bharat has built a career on valuations, from 2-founder garage start-ups to the Eiffel Tower. He shares his knowledge, experience, and insights with the Economics For Business podcast.

Key Takeaways And Actionable Insights

Valuations start with a “what?” and a “why?”

What is the subject of the valuation? Is it a building but not the land it’s sitting on? Is it a patent? Is it a monetized patent or just an approved patent? Is it the assets of a business or is the going business? All these definitions and classifications of what’s being valued clearly make a big difference to the outcome.

What is the purpose of making a valuation? It might be a step in buying a business. Or in selling a business. It may be a valuation of an asset for insurance purposes, or for estate tax estimation. The valuation may be a tool for raising capital, or an assessment following a capital raise. The same asset can have different valuations for different purposes.

That’s why it’s important to start with the what and the why.

The most challenging business valuation is for a start-up.

Two founders working from a garage have a business idea and some code but no customers and no revenue. The business needs a valuation in order to raise capital. It makes no sense to value it on the basis of discounted future projected cash flows. They’re imaginary.

The business is going to be valued based on the story the founders tell, and a rule of thumb valuation that works backwards from the percentage of the business the founders are willing to give to a seed investor.

Most 2-founder garage pre-revenue businesses are deemed worthy of a $1 million valuation, because an investor can be given 20% of the business for a $200,000 investment, which are reasonable heuristics for both parties. Bharat advises founders not to haggle too much over this valuation stage — if the business is successful, this initial financial structure is largely irrelevant for the founders.

In subsequent post-revenue investment rounds, operations have more impact on valuation than future revenue projections.

Even once there’s revenue and a validated business model, projected future revenues are seldom the basis for valuation. There’s usually a hockey stick projection, or a long list of unverifiable assumptions. It’s more important to investors — and valuers — to examine operations, and specifically whether the business owners have a valid, detailed, and convincing plan to scale up. This kind of operations planning demands great rigor, both for purposes of implementation and for convincing investors.

Often, it’s the quality of storytelling that underpins the valuation.

With a detailed operations plan in place, the selling business founder or proprietor can build a persuasive story about future growth and potential. Here, emotion plays a big part. Can the business owner communicate how intensely the need is felt by potential customers? Can he or she communicate the passion they feel to deliver a solution to those customers? And the deep emotional commitment to the years of hard work it will take to attain appropriately ambitious goals?

The story, well-executed, validates the valuation.

For businesses like CPA firms, medical practices, and construction, 2 major factors have an outsize influence on valuations.

When an investor buys a mature service business, especially a local one, they are generally seeking hassle-free cash flow. They’re not looking to buy problems to fix.

Two factors stand out for these kinds of buyers. One is reliable recurring revenue from loyal customers. It must be revenues that are fully attributable to the service, and unlikely to be cut when there is a change of ownership.

The second is automation or established smooth-running and self-maintaining operations mechanisms. Bharat’s advice to sellers of these kinds of businesses is to automate everything you can, with reliable control software wherever possible.

These kinds of service businesses may have high levels of reputation and trust based on surveys and qualitative data, but those intangibles must be backed up with the behavioral reliability of the customer base.

In today’s markets, followers are a highly valued asset.

In many ways, recurring revenue is a metric to quantify followership. Ryan Reynolds has a followership. Nike has a followership. Tom Cruise has a followership. These followers are all monetizable as buyers of goods or services or movie tickets associated with these personalities and brands. Your personal brand has value if you have followers and if the followership can be monetized.

Every asset can be assigned a valuation — even the State of Hawaii and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Bharat has been called upon to give valuations of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Atlanta airport, and the state of Hawaii, among many other famous places or things. Sometimes, the valuation is for insurance purposes, sometimes for accounting. In all cases, there’s a number (or a range).

Once the what and the why are established, there is a mechanism for valuation that can be applied to any asset or stock or flow.

Additional Resources

“Pathways To Business Valuation” (PDF): Download PDF

“How to Double Valuation?” (Video): Watch Video

“What’s Pre-IPO Worth?” (Video): Watch Video

For Greater Business Success, Turn Your Thinking Upside Down In These 6 Ways.

There are sometimes revolutions in business thinking and business approaches that some of us miss because they originate in academia. There’s no pipeline for these ideas from their origin to their application in business firms. Academia is isolated, and businesses are too busy to search for the information and make the adaptations necessary for effective application in the real world. But there’s value to be uncovered and released, if businesses put in the effort.

One such revolution began with an article in the January 2004 issue of the Journal Of Marketing by Stephen L. Vargo & Robert F. Lusch, titled Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing. The underlying logic was simple:

Marketing inherited a model of exchange from economics, which had a dominant logic based on the exchange of “goods,” which usually are manufactured output. The dominant logic focused on tangible resources, embedded value, and transactions. Over the past several decades, new perspectives have emerged that have a revised logic focused on intangible resources, the cocreation of value, and relationships. The authors believe that the new perspectives are converging to form a new dominant logic for marketing, one in which service provision rather than goods is fundamental to economic exchange.

Stephen L. Vargo & Robert F. Lusch, Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing, Journal of Marketing January 2004

The authors called their new logic “Service-Dominant Logic”. The source article has generated a still-ongoing torrent of further development and discussion. The idea of a revolution in business thinking – a new dominant logic – has been very compelling. The authors referred to the new ways of thinking as “inversions” – turning traditional thinking upside down. Here, for example, is a summary of a 2015 article of theirs in Marketing Theory: Inversions Of Service-Dominant Logic. Inversion #1 is the one that particularly caught my attention.

1. Entrepreneurship over Management

Much of management thought has its roots in the Industrial Revolution, focused on control of large, bureaucratic organizations. The hallmark is efficiency, with bureaucratic central planning and top down management command and control, extended to sub disciplines such as marketing management, human resource management, customer management, financial management, supply chain management and information systems management. Entrepreneurial approaches to business are seen as the exceptions, such as start-ups, small business.

Entrepreneurship should be viewed as the rule, rather than the exception. Systems generate value through resource integration and service exchange in a continuous flow of emergence. There is no end state to optimize or to manage towards. Business is the ongoing discovery of new solutions to evolving human problems – market making. Entrepreneurial activities are fundamental to value creation in ecosystems. Management of bureaucratic firms is a special, limited case, temporarily required in institutionalized forms in institutionalized markets.

2. Effectual over Predictive Processes

The theory and practice of management is anti-entrepreneurial. Writing and building detailed plans about highly institutionalized markets, supported with detailed financial predictions that become the guiding framework for management action, resource allocation, marketing strategy and control. It’s a Newtonian view: maximizing economic value to shareholders via pulling levers of product attributes, price, promotion and channels to produce the result. A bureaucratic structure is established and management is a rules-based activity to be “played” correctly.

Effectual processes assume the future is unpredictable. Human action can shape outcomes through the exercise of choice; goals are emergent, changing and negotiable. Planning is counter-productive, and uncertainty and unpredictability are embraced as opportunities for market making or reshaping and new approaches to value generation. Learning comes from trying and imagining. It’s the natural practice of human actors.

3. Marketing over manufacturing.

In management, there is a focus on being “productive”, with a primacy of “product”, which can be traced back to Adam Smith and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. National wealth could be advanced through the application of labor (applied specialized knowledge and skills) to create tangible, exportable goods. A preoccupation with manufacturing and productivity led to affordable supply exceeding market development and hence to the systematic study of marketing – in a supporting role to manufacturing: taking units of output to market to be sold. Marketing has been trying to dig itself out of this stepchild role. 

Service-Dominant Logic sees marketing as primary: the creation, increasing and recreating of markets (through innovative approaches to resource integration and service provision) as the essential purpose of the firm. Marketing and innovation are the same. 

The firm is removed from a primary, central role in value creation to the role of participant in the value creation process for others in the context of service ecosystems. Marketing is a transcending function. It can’t be outsourced.

4. Innovation over invention

invention is an isolated device or process. To become innovations, they must be connected to actors in service ecosystems to become institutionalized solutions to human problems through co-ordinated development of a supportive, contextual environment. Value is created through innovation, not invention.

5. Effectiveness over efficiency

The Industrial Revolution pursued efficiency: productivity, doing more and more with fewer and fewer resources, and the elimination of “waste”. It’s producer-centric. Effectiveness is a user-centric concept, captured in value-in-experience. Without effectiveness, efficiency is a moot issue. Understanding this relationship is critical to innovation and value generation. 

6. Heuristics over rationality

The rational decision-making of homo economicus persists in neo-classical economics, even in the form of bounded rationality. Heuristics can be more robust for human decision-making than calculation, and play an important role in decision making. Heuristics work for people because they are adapted to their environmental structure, including institutions that provide short cuts to value-related decisions. Rationality is a subcategory of heuristic thought. 

Turn Your Thinking Upside Down

These inversions are thought provoking. They seem entirely appropriate for our time. Ask yourself what other aspects of your business thinking merit this kind of re-examination and inversion. Nothing is sacred.

140. Samuele Murtinu: How Low Time Preference Elevates the Investment Returns of Family Corporate Venture Capital

Family businesses play a major role in the US economy. According to the Conway Center, family businesses comprise 90% of the business ventures in the US, generate 62% of the employment in the nation, and deliver 64% of US GDP.

And, they’re good at venture capital. Samuele Murtinu, Professor of Law, Economics, and Governance at Utrecht University, visits the Economics For Business podcast to share the findings and insights from his very recent analysis of venture capital databases.

Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights

Corporate venture capital is a special animal.

There are many types of venture capital. Professor Murtinu focused first on the distinction between traditional or independent venture capital (IVC) and corporate venture capital (CVC). Independent venture capital funds are structured with a general partner in the operational, decision-making role, and investors in the role of limited partner.

Corporate venture capital funds are fully owned and managed by their parent corporation. The CEO or CFO of the corporation typically appoints a corporate venture capital manager, who selects targets, conducts due diligence and so on from a subordinate position in the corporate hierarchy.

The important difference between IVC and CVC lies in objectives and goals. IVC goals are purely financial — the highest capital gain in the shortest possible time. CVC funds often have strategic goals in addition to, or substituting for, financial goals. These strategic goals might include augmenting internal R&D capabilities and performance, and accessing new technologies and new innovations, or entering new markets.

Another form of CVC licenses patented technologies to startups in cases where the corporate firm does not have the capacity to exploit the IP, but can oversee the implementation at the startup with a view to further future investment or acquisition. This is the method of Microsoft’s IP Ventures arm, for example.

Typically, IVC investments are easy to measure against financial performance benchmarks or targets. CVC’s strategic investments are harder to measure. Goals such as technology integration are too non-specific to measure, and normal VC guardrails like specified duration of investments are not typically in place and so can’t be used as benchmarks. On the other hand, CVC investments often expand beyond the financial into strategic support via corporate assets such as brand, sales and distribution channels and systems.

Corporate venture capital out-performs traditional venture capital in overall economic performance.

Professor Murtinu’s performance metric in his data analysis was total factor productivity — performance over and above what’s attributable to the additions to capital and labor inputs. IVC’s performance for its investments was measured in the +40% range, and CVC’s was measured at roughly +50%. IVC performs better in the short term, while CVC performs better in the longer term. This difference reflects the lower time preference of CVC. It extends to IPO’s: corporate venture capital funds stay longer in the equity capital of their portfolio companies in comparison to independent venture capital.

Family CVC is another animal again — and even higher performing than non-family CVC.

Professor Murtinu separated out family-owned firms (based on a percentage of equity held) with corporate venture capital funds for analysis. Some of his findings include:

  • They prefer to maintain longer and more stable involvement in the companies in which they invest.
  • They prefer to maintain control over time (as opposed to exiting for financial gain).
  • They look to gains beyond purely financial returns, including technology acquisition / integration into the parent company and/or learning new processes.
  • They are more likely to syndicate with other investors, for purposes of portfolio risk mitigation.
  • They target venture investments that are “close to home” both in geographic terms and in terms of industries closely related to their core business.

The resultant outcomes are superior: a higher likelihood of successful exits (IPO or sale to another entity), and a greater long term value effect on the sold company after the IPO or exit. Further, there is evidence from the data of a higher innovation effect for Family CVC holdings, as measured by the post-exit value of the patent portfolio held by the ventures.

Family CVC is resilient in economic downturns. During the last economic downturn, family CVC invested at double the amount of corporate venture capital, reflecting family businesses’ preference for long-term investing and for control.

The lower time preference of family businesses and family CVC is crucial for the achievement of superior financial performance, especially in the longer term.

Family CVC’s lower time preference and longer investment time horizons result in beneficial effects. Ownership in the venture companies is more stable, and the value effect after IPO (when family CVC stability continues because these funds stay in the post-IPO company longer) is significant.

Professor Murtinu relates this phenomenon to Austrian economics. The longer time horizon permits a closer relationship between investor and entrepreneur — it develops over time — and their subjective judgment about the future state become more aligned. Frictions and information asymmetries are reduced, and a shared view of the future emerges. This stability can scale up to the industry level and national level when there are more family CVC funds at work. Instead of pursuing unicorns and gazelles, an environment more conducive to duration and resilience is created.

Additional Resources

“Types of Venture Capital” (PDF): Download PDF

“Families In Corporate Venture Capital” by Samuele Murtinu, Mario Daniele Amore, and Valerio Pelucco (PDF): Download Paper

Six Superior Characteristics Of The Entrepreneurial Society.

We live in a political society. Politicians and the bureaucrats whom they enable hold all the power. Most people despise them.

Why? Because of their role. They exist to argue over the division of the economic pie that others produce. Politicians despise production and elevate themselves over producers. The fact that they behave badly in the performance of their role merely exacerbates the disdain in which they are held; it is not the primary cause.

The producer role is played by entrepreneurs. That’s the economic term for those who monitor what politicians call (but never truly examine) the will of the people: what people want, what they need, what they prefer, how they feel, what pleases them, and what disappoints them. Entrepreneurs gather this information by listening. They process it through their empathy – the skill of imagining what it’s like to feel what others feel – and decide whether there is a business’s opportunity there. That depends on many variables – the intensity of the need, its durability (how long will it last if unfulfilled), the viability of assembling resources and a business plan to produce a good or a service to meet the need, the likelihood of people buying the solution from one entrepreneur versus another.


There are important human values at work here. There’s collaboration. People need entrepreneurs to find new ways to solve their problems or meet their needs. Entrepreneurs need customers to channel the market rewards they seek to keep their production going. This symbiosis is the essence of the market system, raising everyone’s boat through the collaboration of buying and selling.

Shared emotion.

There’s the animating emotion of wanting. Human beings act in a conscious way to improve their circumstances. They want something better than what they experience in the present. This is the energy that drives civilization all progress. Consumers want need fulfillment. Entrepreneurs want to feel the fulfillment of acting as the solution source. This is how mutual wants come into alignment in society. 


There is listening. There is none of that in politics of course. Yet it’s the core informational input into the entrepreneurial process. The first question in that process is, “What do I know?” Entrepreneurs need continuously updated information about the market, about trends, about preferences, about available options, about pricing, about competitors, and about a thousand other things. They get it through listening. It’s a humble mindset – not dictating or declaring or asserting, not jumping to conclusions, not arguing or contradicting, not wishful thinking, just listening. 


And there is the core entrepreneurial skill of empathy. How can we understand what others feel they need to make their lives better? We all have consciousness but we are not gifted with experiencing the consciousness of others. To be an entrepreneur, it’s necessary to overcome that cognitive barrier. How? It’s a mental modeling process. Entrepreneurs build a mental model of how others – customers – think and feel. It’s not their own mental model, so humility again comes into play – the humility of trying to understand and appreciate another’s point of view. It’s a kind of self-sacrifice – sacrificing one’s own ego in order to feel the way another person feels. 


In fact, sacrifice is fundamental to successful entrepreneurship. It takes mental sacrifice to understand others’ needs. Then it requires the sacrifice of time and resources in production to design, assemble and produce the goods and services which will become the value proposition to the customer. To serve others with economic offers and innovation is an ethic of devoting one’s present to the future satisfaction of customers. It’s for this sacrifice, when successful in the eyes of the customer, that the entrepreneur is rewarded. 


The result is an ever-increasing pool of value. In entrepreneurial economics, value is the customer experience that transpires when the offer made by the entrepreneur is successful in making the customer feel better. Value is a feeling, a good feeling. Entrepreneurs aim to generate value – only the customer can actually create it via their own experience. The more value the entrepreneur generates, the better the customer experience and the greater the ultimate reward to the entrepreneur. The mutuality is self-reinforcing. The whole society is raised up.

A Better Society.

Imagine what society would be like if it were entrepreneurial and not political. It would be characterized by the values of collaboration, emotional sharing, listening, empathy and sacrifice. It would be productive, because entrepreneurs always figure out how to generate more value with less input and fewer resources. It would be about a growing pie for all rather than a political fight over the division and redistribution of the pie. The entrepreneurial society would be much superior to the political society. Let’s work to create it.

139. Fabrice Testa on Super Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a method, and it’s also a mindset. Fabrice Testa has written a book that brilliantly integrates the two: he calls the integration “Super Entrepreneurship,” and his book title is therefore Super Entrepreneurship Decoded. He has the appropriate credentials as a proven super-entrepreneur who has created and nurtured numerous great companies (and successfully sold a couple of them).

Fabrice knows the true meaning of the phrase, “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea”.

Entrepreneurs are animated by their purpose. Super entrepreneurs embrace a massive transformative purpose.

The motivation for entrepreneurs is to help others — to solve problems for others, as we sometimes phrase it. Super entrepreneurs, in Fabrice Testa’s language, are those who choose to dedicate their businesses to solving the biggest problems. By setting big goals, they attract many like-minded partners, collaborators, and employees. By targeting transformation, they aim to change the world in a significant way.

In making this choice, super entrepreneurs are delving deeply into their own personal story to understand their own drivers and their own passionate commitment. There’s a major self-discovery component.

Having set their MTP, super entrepreneurs develop a systematic approach to the pursuit of their goal.

Fabrice Testa recommends that super entrepreneurs combine what he calls CRAZY thinking with a relentless sense of purpose. CRAZY is an acronym for elements of entrepreneurship that Testa calls the Five Secrets. We agreed not to give them away, but they add up to a five-step method entrepreneurs can follow, and a checklist that they can use to assess the market power of their own concepts and business models.

The context for the 5-step method is the exponential rate of growth of available and applicable technologies for entrepreneurship, and the convergence of those technologies that results in a compounding of productivity. When, for example, sensor-based data collection can be combined with A.I. and robotics, whole new fields of automation open up, potentially helping billions of people.

A relentless sense of purpose is a major element in the super entrepreneurial mix.

Super entrepreneurs are highly motivated. They display high levels of ambition and drive, and they generate strong momentum. They seek change, and aim for breakthroughs. They love to set the bar high.

There is a spirit to super entrepreneurship, an intangible spark of super energy and boldness that sets the best entrepreneurs apart and powers them to unusual levels of achievement.

There’s a plan, but it’s not fixed.

Fabrice Testa identifies a master plan for the activities of high-achieving entrepreneurs, but it’s not the restrictive plan of the business school strategist. One term he used was Roadmap: there’s a goal to get from A to B, but it’s OK to visit C, D and E along the way, and to learn and double back and embrace recursive procedures to reach the targeted end-results. The key to success is keeping the goal in mind with flexibility on the route to get there.

Let the customer be the guide.

Testa subscribes to the protocol of involving the customer early and often in the process of designing and building a product or service or a company. Entrepreneurs are always working with assumptions, and, at minimum, must validate them with customers.

He introduced us to the “Starbucks method” of customer validation. Park yourself in Starbucks, order a beverage of your choice, then look around for likely-looking people who might be open to a brief conversation about your idea or proposal or even prototype. It’s easy to engage people, they’re willing to help, and you can offer to buy them a coffee to lubricate the relationship. A few hours investment of your time and a few dollars invested in coffee will result in a deep, broad and rich set of reactions and responses and a meaningful feedback loop.

Success is more about fitting in than it is about timing.

When writers and historians are trying to analyze the unusual success of a particular business, they often attribute a lot of the cause of the outcome to timing — the product or service or technology came along at just the right time. This is a misinterpretation. The happy correspondence of a new offering with a receptive context is not timing but fitting in.

According to Fabrice, to fit in in a big way is to fit in with the zeitgeist of the era. The dictionary definition of zeitgeist is the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era. What Fabrice is pointing towards is a heightened ability to sense the movement of the time, and the direction of its flow, and to step into that river at the right point.

Entrepreneurship is everywhere, and can be achieved at multiple scales.

Super entrepreneurship is not limited by the scale of resources, but it can certainly be augmented wherever resources are abundant. That’s why we seek to encourage entrepreneurship for individuals, teams, and firms of all size, including the largest corporations. Big companies under-perform at entrepreneurship for two reasons. First, they spawn bureaucracy, which is a form of organization that is counter-entrepreneurial. Second, they have existing businesses to defend and fear the consequences of self-disruption.

The solution is to change the purpose of big corporations so that they can become super-entrepreneurial. The purpose would be to create new businesses with no bureaucracy and separated from the defense mechanisms of existing business units or divisions.

Additional Resources

Super-Entrepreneurship Decoded: 5 Secret Keys to Create Breakthrough Businesses that Change the World by Fabrice Testa: Buy It On Amazon

“Super Entrepreneurship” (PDF): Download PDF