Thursday, November 20, 2008

The 'Modern' Entrepreneur

I have structured my career wrongly so far. I have worked hard, trying to learn skills and understand how businesses work, and wanted to save up a bit of capital in the process. All I wanted to become is an entrepreneur, independent, high-achiever. But, as I know now, my imagination of 'entrepreneur' was wrong. Or, it is, at the least, dated. In these boom-bust age of hypercapitalism, the entrepreneur needs to be a modern entrepreneur, one that runs with different rules than those in the book. Here is my take of the Modern Entrepreneur.
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The 'modern entrepreneur' is usually young, energetic and high living. He is modern because most of his ideas and actions are determined by pop capitalism [aka Richard Branson] and he has, most probably, come of age in the new millennium. He is an economic agent, and he value-adds through opportunity-mining. He appreciates nothing but money, sees no sin in luxury, and usually hands out an odd donation to do his part for the world. He is generous in person, economic in his thinking and claims that he reinvented the world. He is the new God, the new prophet and the new bible, rolled in one.

He is someone ready for, made of and created by our time!

His banks gives him the money and covers all his risks. His employees toil hard, and are expected to earn their own salaries, otherwise they don't get one. His businesses only offer 'quality'; he understands this to be a logo on the main door. His customers are expected to love the brand and pay not what it is worth, but as much they can afford to pay. His government gives him tax cuts so that he can earn even more.

All he needs to bring to party is HIMSELF.

He, of course, spends his hours at the gym and reads his management digests. He keeps good company, and knows about the latest scandal and the latest opportunity in town. He has sharp ears, sweet mouth and closed eyes. He is brain-dead to Einstein in 60 seconds, and the opposite in 1. He is usually an MBA, better still, a drop-out, so he knows the names of the books but did not have to read them. He is spiritual, but he thinks it is some kind of retirement saving. He is ethical, but ethics is somewhat like a good movie, to be saved for the weekends, that is.

Responsibility is a word he does not like - and written to Cambridge recently appealing the deletion of the word from the dictionary.

He is the Master of the Universe. Tom Wolfe wrote about him, so did Arvind Adiga. He wins Bookers and Pulitzers regularly. He is The Lord, of lives and ideas, of moments, thoughts and troubles, of countless other mortals, who are not up in the information ladder. He hires guns in Moscow, lobbyists in Washington, pimps in Brussels, party officials in Beijing and politicians in Delhi. He can not fail.

He said his alphabet starts with the letter O - the word Opportunity - and the rest follows.

He made money when it became fashionable for the governments to sell off their assets at a cut price. He again made money when it became fashionable for the governments to 'bail out' those same companies that bought those assets. He is a scavenger for public funds, claiming every penny that he can, and creating some to reward himself. He is a true revolutionary, funding coups and assassinations in poor foreign countries as a business opportunity. He is big and small, foolish and wise, many and one - but always the same.

He is the modern avatar - he corrects to comply, he corrupts to convince, he invests to manipulate and he spends to earn.

TV predicts the end of him among the current economic crisis, but what do they know! He revels in boom-and-bust, he is the master of the crisis and rescue, bail-ins and bail-outs. One would suspect the rumours of his demise are one of his business strategies, a communication principle he learnt in last month's seminar or an idea he picked up from last weekend's movie, something that sets the stage for renewal and return. In his need-to-know world of on-demand ethics and other people's responsibility, such crises help him to unleash creative destruction and destructive creation, with little headache.

Amen.

3 comments:

riverine said...

confused!? capitalism as defined have some rules (informal of course), at every age since capitalism was conceived the then band of 'modern entrepreneur' have been someone who knows how to and who can exploit labour (& capital), i.e. seek and earn rent. sorry i don't find anything new in the process or how it evolves. it is but only expected. the value-addition he poses to create is in fact created by the labour, he remains an effective instrument (or agant) of capitalism to run the show.

Supriyo Chaudhuri said...

I think it moves on cycles of responsibility and irresponsibility in commercial enterprise. This is currently the cycle of irresponsibility, somewhat like Upton Sinclair's times. You are right - there is nothing new in the process. Should I have said 'the entrepreneur'? No, that would have been too broadbrushed, considering that there have been people who brought knowledge, risk taking and hard work to party. Even social responsibility - I was fortunate to watch someone from close quarters - who valued responsibility and was concerned about how to earn a place in the society. He did well too, but that was another age.

Get Quotes said...

a very profound description of the modern entrepreneur. He is modern, competent, and open to change.

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