Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #152
Are you reading too much about startups and entrepreneurship
As you’ll see in this issue’s Q&A, someone asked me for suggestions about where else they can find great entrepreneurship advice. While I won’t spoil my answer below, I do want to mention that reading content isn’t the best way. I realize, as someone who spends tons of time creating articles, podcasts, and newsletters like this one, I’m hurting myself by telling you to do something else, but I always try to be honest, and I’d be lying if I told you the articles you’re reading here are, by themselves, going to turn you into an incredible entrepreneur.
To be clear, I’m happy to give as much advice and insights as I can, but that doesn’t change the fact that content like mine is purely supplemental. What you read online can provide useful learnings, but it can’t be the centerpiece of any sort of meaningful entrepreneurial education.
The same is true for mine — or anyone’s — entrepreneurship classes. Again, they’re not necessarily bad (or, for that matter, good). But they’re definitely not the bulk of how you’re going to learn. With this in mind, as much as it pains me to write this, please make sure you’re not spending all your time reading about entrepreneurship.
And now, for something that’s going to seem completely contradictory to everything I just wrote, you should definitely keep sharing Entrepreneur Office Hours because… well… I still want more readers. Better yet, let’s make this a win-win. You should share a link to EOH with all the people you need to distract from their work (e.g. your competitors), and I’ll help you distract them by creating awesome articles they’ll constantly want to be reading instead of working.
If that sounds like a good plan, all you need to do is press this button:
While you might think you can “product” your way to entrepreneurial success, the truth is your product isn’t the real issue.
Are you making the same foolish mistake I was back when I was wasting time trying (and failing) to make friends with VCs?
Office Hours Q&A
I love your weekly newsletter. I’ve only been reading for a few weeks now, but I’ve also been reading all your old articles, and I can already see how the knowledge you share can help young entrepreneurs like me.
Along those lines, I was wondering if you would consider sharing some of how you learned to be an entrepreneur. I’m curious to know what kinds of books you read, the classes you took, and which people you followed on social media so I can explore those things, too.
I look forward to your answer!
When I was back in college and first “learning to be an entrepreneur,” my university didn’t have an entrepreneurship program. Honestly, I’m not even sure I’d heard of or knew the word “entrepreneur.” It certainly wasn’t a term I’d have used to describe myself, and it didn’t seem to be nearly as common a term in the public zeitgeist as it is now.
Then again, I’ve always been a bit of an oblivious, self-obsessed idiot – especially when I was in college – so it’s likely I just didn’t know about the huge entrepreneurial happenings in the world around me. In fact, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure this was the real issue. After all, I went to college from 2001-2005, which was post dot-com boom/bust, meaning there were plenty of entrepreneurs making headlines.
But none of that is the point.
The real point is that most of my knowledge about entrepreneurship comes from experience. It’s either first-hand experience (usually in the form of screwing something up myself), or second-hand experience in the form of mentorship from the many people who helped advise me along the way. Because of this, I don’t have many great learning resources to point you toward.
To be clear, I 100% wouldn’t suggest you take the same approach as me. (See above… the “oblivious, self-obsessed idiot” part). In retrospect, I wish I’d spent a lot more time learning about the entrepreneurial process in ways that didn’t usually end in personal failure. The fact that I did is mostly an indictment of me and my personal shortcomings. Hopefully you don’t have the same ones.
But that also doesn’t mean I’d encourage you to spend all your time reading (even my content). If I were to point you toward good resources for learning about entrepreneurship today, the main thing I’d encourage is for you to find high quality, successful entrepreneurs wherever you live, and spend as much time with them as possible. Specifically, if you can, find ways to work for them.
I realize working for someone else is going to feel like it’s delaying your own entrepreneurial goals, but that’s shortsighted. If you spend a few years working for other great entrepreneurs and absorbing as much as you can, I promise you’ll save yourself tons of time in the future when you start building your own companies.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!