Born for the Biz: Why should we care?
Author: Gary Whitehill
Everyday there are thousands, if not more, reports on just about anything in the world of business. From tech to healthcare, the oil crisis to insider trading scandal, we gain great insight into the business world through a distorted kaleidoscope of newspapers, television, and radio. The people who are mentioned, whether it be the Bernie Madoffs of the world, to Steve Jobs, or even Warren Buffet; there’s an addictive nature to our general fascination. These people, these men and women, are entrepreneurs.How many people in this world are really entrepreneurial though? What is an entrepreneur? The textbook taught method of a university tries to define it as those who start new organizations as a response to new opportunity in the environment. It can be as simple as creating a new way to play videogames to catering to lazy college students’ inability to do laundry by offering a paid for service (a godsend to myself I must say). The term is thrown around so often that it almost seems impossible to not be a bit curious about who these people are.
In literature and film, you can trace the themes of entrepreneurship back for hundreds of years. Look at Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. What is arguably an anti-semitic satire on Venetian culture quickly points out that Shylock is in fact a brilliant entrepreneur. Like other Jewish men in this time, Christians weren’t allowed to lend money, but the likes of Shylock were able to make the best of their non-Christian background by filling in a much needed gap (though it had severe social consequences).
Citizen Kane is another perfect example of our fascination with the business world. While not exactly as suave as Gordon Gekko, the man was brilliant and influential. His last breath of “Rosebud” creates a media frenzy of investigation, which leads Jerry Thompson on an almost epic odyssey to uncover the final word of this man’s life. The point is this: why on earth would anyone even care?
Ultimately, money aside, there’s a big part that affects the most common person. While many might not care if Microsoft or Apple go head to head, others realize when companies like these strive to be the most “entrepreneurial” we benefit the most as consumers. These companies and the brilliant minds behind them tirelessly fight night and day to outwit and outdo the competition. As a result, we almost methodically end up needing to replace half of our electronics at the end of the shopping season every year now. My cell phone for instance gets an upgrade every six months because something much better (and shockingly cheaper) keeps coming out.
As a hopeful entrepreneur (and writer) I myself see many opportunities in the world at an early age. Being an Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises major in college I’ve entered my third year with a completed internship at a respectable entertainment website and have already started my own company, all at the age of 20. It seemed one minute I was just a kid in the big city and the next thing I know I’m in the Harvard Club with a few colleagues talking about future business plans. It’s a daunting and intimidating task. There is no real reason I even have to do these things, the funny thing was that part of me just felt the need to do something. I don’t care about the money or the potential fame (as shocking as that might sound), but the possibility to make a legitimate name for myself. The very thought was quite enticing.
After watching my family do business in Connecticut for the last two decades, I know I was given an invaluable set of tools to take on the real world. It’s my lifeblood, a birthright if you will. A calling that subconsciously screams so loud that I can’t ignore it. Successful or not, I know I have to try. My grandpa David always said to honor three things: family, god, and charity. Considering that he is a renowned Holocaust survivor whose shadow I can only hope to cast one day as far as his does to me, I can see what he means.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about making money; it’s about being a person who takes on the responsibility as a role model in this society. While you can have all the money in the world, it means nothing if you don’t have anyone to share it with, have a God to thank for it, and have a hand to extend to those who need it the most. That to me is what being an entrepreneur is all about. We are fascinated with entrepreneurs because in all honesty, a lot of them are actually worth it.
With an opportunity such as NYEW I feel that we can all amass a new culture around what being an Entrepreneur is about. Instead of just being recognized as the elite of the business world or the billionaires of tomorrow, we can use it to network a group of people that can actually make a significant difference in the world. They say you can put a typewriter in a room full of monkeys and they’ll write Shakespeare. With those odds I’d love to see what happens when you do the same with the likes of Entrepreneurs.
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