TL;DR: In software, current meaning of the word “entrepreneur” is generally tied to an non-technical hypocrite.
In our daily gunslinging tasks, we hired keyboards have to deal with many self-entitled “entrepreneurs” 1. Without putting everyone on the same basket, I’m going to focus on (what seems to be) the most prolific kind: non-technical (or, in all fairness, barely technical) ones.
They usually share the same speech, with small variations, along the following:
"I want my idea to become a reality, change the world for the better, and get rich in the process".
Let’s dissect the phrase. It is, at the same time, so widespread and hypocritical that I can barely hear it anymore without laughing maniacally or being overwhelmed by profound, true gunslinger hatred. Still, people I talk to is happy to say the words in a daily basis without the most basic sense of absurdity.
You want your idea to become a reality. Explain to me again how you can’t really implement it. Oh, you think the idea is the only thing that matters, and implementation are just practical details? Cool, I have a old term for you: businessman. You want something done, that you can’t do yourself (not even given infinite time), you have access to money somehow, and you trade it in exchange for work. Engineering work. That’s what businessmen do. I don’t see how that’s really “entrepreneurial” 2. Oh, you want a “technical co-founder”? Sure, I love working for free! I always agreed that expecting proper compensation for my hard-earned knowledge was silly.
You also want to change the world — I’ll assume for the better, if you didn’t say it. Explain to me again how the seventh million iteration of an application for sharing pictures (“but, but… with a twist!”) is going to make the world a better place. You can’t really think that unless you’ve had some serious brain damage in the past. To me, it just looks that you want to carbon-copy something that’s been done a million times and then, inexplicably, you’ll get acquired by Google or Yahoo or whoever for a ridiculous amount of money that surpasses NASA’s yearly budget. Later on, they’ll shut down your application, all your engineers will fly away, and you’ll retire to your own private island until you die. That may certainly change your own world for the better (if that ever happens, which I doubt), but for the rest of mankind it’ll be the same old dusty wasteland.
Then, lastly, you want to get rich in the process. The shorter the process, the better. Explain to me again how a new rich person is going to make the world a better place. No, seriously 3. Disparities in wealth distribution are one of the main reasons because the world is in such an horrendous state. Isn’t your argument self-negatingly hypocritical?
There’s a laughable and childish variation of the above: in all seriousness, some guys want to be the next Steve Jobs or something like that. Yes, I’ve heard people above their 30s saying that, word by word 4. I don’t know how anyone with a working brain would invest money in such argument.
Certainly, there are exceptions to the above, but those are unique, that’s why they’re in the news. I’m not referring to any of them, but exactly to the opposite — the vast hypocritical majority.
In the end, my answer to all this is always similar to:
"Give me money, I’ll buy some coffee and turn it into code. I wish you the best in earning a decent living, every day, for many years to come."
I’m sorry (no, wait, actually I’m not) if anyone gets offended by this. But at the same time it’s sorrowful that so many people fail (sometimes, conveniently fail) to see the hypocrisy in those arguments. They look like little kids trying to impress their friends, but then enormous amounts of money, time and resources are incomprehensibly wasted in a stupidness continuum, and I start wondering, isn’t this the technological equivalent of war?
I had to look up for the word to write it correctly. ↩
I had to look up for the word, again. ↩
No, “benevolent” philanthropist organizations created to circle around taxes and mock about solving problems that they’ve actually helped to create themselves are not doing any favor to the world. ↩