Senior year in college I co-led a student forum on Entrepreneurship. It was a survey course with a different theme each week, progressing from theoretical subjects to more practical exercises over the course of 13 weeks. In the 5th week, the theme was “Who are entrepreneurs?” For the first half of class we talked about ideas such as Isaiah Berlin’s Fox and Hedgehog, “great man” theory, and the personality characteristics that may be conducive to being an entrepreneur.
In the second half of the class, we turned the focus away from examples of other people who have already gone and been entrepreneurs, and instead analyzed ourselves and our own personal tendencies. I had everyone in the class take a 10 minute Myers Briggs personality test, and then we formed ‘perfect teams’ based on our strengths and weaknesses. This sparked great discussion.
Finally, I encouraged everyone to make self-discovery an active, ongoing, and frequent activity. Personally, I love lists. Back in high school I discovered xPad and used it to keep track of my thoughts. Over time, I developed the occasionally obsessive habit of gradually adding to these lists and adding new ones. These days I use Evernote (along with more than 100 million other people..!). These lists form the backbone of my self-knowledge as well as my entrepreneurial potential, which I see as fairly closely related.
Here is a selection of lists that I have made over the years. Most of the prompts are obviously vague — they are meant to be interpreted differently over time to suit different purposes. I never start a list with the intention of providing an exhaustive “answer”. They are perpetual works in progress, a working databank that will serve you however you choose to serve yourself.
Problems I see in the world:
Problems I see in my daily life:
Sectors/fields I’d like to work in:
My favorite companies:
My personal theories:
“I am a strong believer in”:
What is my ideal situation in X years?
Questions for the world:
Answers for the world:
If I were to look back and have helped the world in one way, what would it be?
Potential project list:
How should I use my free time?
What would I do with a superpower of choice?
My favorite activities/things to do:
Subjects I am passionate about:
Fields that I might like to pioneer given any legitimacy I could automagically have:
Companies I would like to work for:
What am I not doing now that I will look back and wish I have been doing? What will I want to have been doing for years?
What change is needed?
List of questions that I should be asking:
To read/learn/general explore:
Why do I want to be an entrepreneur?
Where to work out of college?
Questions to start conversations:
Questions that stump me:
Coolest Ideas I hear about:
People in my life that inspire me:
One sentence examples of social entrepreneurship:
Concepts to learn more about:
Interesting facts about me:
List of my interests:
My favorite ideas:
Goals for technology:
I like it when technology does this: