Recently, I had lunch with an entrepreneur friend of mine in San Francisco. He had worked for several BIG companies before helping start a little company that recently sold to a bigger cloud storage company. As we talked, we jumped from topic to topic – and not all in tech. One minute we shared ideas on organic farming, then we were on robotics, next thing we know we’ve got a laptop open flipping through slides for a small web app i’ve been working on.
Then it donned me: anyone looking from the outside in would think we were startup wankers. The types of people who talk talk talk but never actually do anything.
The truth is though this friend of mine (like most of the folks I meet with in the Bay Area) has, is, and will continue to actually DO things. I like to think that at least I can admit when I have to many ideas and not enough action. Therefore, we can’t be wankers can we? You know startup wankers when you see them. Sometimes called Wantrepreneaurs. These are the guys who talk about their “stealth mode” startup that is raising money. They go to a lot of mixers. They do many trade shows. They are usually running “lean” and don’t actually have any engineers involved. They have gorgeous business cards. Its scary.
I think a better word for the people who actually are capable of delivering on at least a portion of what they talk about is the “Quantum Entrepreneur.” Hear me out:
I’m no quantum computing expert (or any kind of computer expert for that matter). But the basic idea behind quantum computing is that instead of thinking in 0s or 1s, a quantum computer uses bits that are either, or, both- etc. This is the difference between a normal computer bit (a 1 or a 0) and a Quantum bit (any combination plus more and sometimes all).
This is essentially how the quantum entrepreneur thinks. A standard person would tell you that you either have to be an employee or a manager. You either have to be a corporate guy or a startup guy. You have to choose between design and engineering. You have to decide if you are a farmer or a founder. In reality this is not true. Our linear minds try to force us to believe it to be but its not. The Quantum Entrepreneur, like a quantum computer, can rapidly switch circuits. So fast a standard thinker may write them off as all talk – but be careful, because somewhere in the rapid transitions from farming to technology, to services, to robots, to apps lies something beautiful.
All of this switching topics quickly marches down idea paths that branch off in many directions. The faster an entrepreneur can choose the best path, or backtrack on the trail to take another, the better. It just so happens that a quantum approach may actually be the best. Perhaps its ok to be a few things to a few people. To bet on a few races at once. Quantum thinking may not be for everyone, but for many of the meetings I have day to day, I think its the only way to stay sane.