The Age of Napoleons: Conquerers in Tech

The main difference between businesses born today versus those of yesteryear, is that it's very difficult to make a scalable business of shoe cleaning or running the local grocery store. Scalability in business is much more prevalent now.

January 22nd, 2017   |    By: Oleg Yefymov    |    Tags: Technology, Lessons, Idea Validation

It’s no secret that our time in history is unique. Our times are unique in a myriad of ways, but an area of some concern is the state of entrepreneurship in the world of technology.

In recent decades fund-raising has become not only much easier, but also more popular. Even businesses with seemingly little potential to truly become scalable, try to raise money, and they even sometimes succeed. While fund-raising is a decent way to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, it’s not end-game for aspiring entrepreneurial-Napoleons.

In some ways, the entrepreneurial scene hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. For example, the average age of entrepreneurs today is not significantly younger than 100 years ago.

Steve Blank considers his parents, who ran a small local grocery shop, to be entrepreneurs. Similar to Blank’s parents, there were as many shoe cleaners, newspaper sellers, or even pickpockets, as there are tech entrepreneurs today.

Similarities aside, the main difference between businesses born today versus those of yesteryear, is that it’s very difficult to make a scalable business of shoe cleaning or running the local grocery store. Scalability in business is much more prevalent now.

Of course, today’s 20-somethings may not be smarter than 20-somethings of 100 years ago; they just grew up in a reality knowing that founding a scalable business, like Uber and AirBnB, is possible. Further, the current environment in the Western world is very supportive to entrepreneurs. Not only are there many investors willing to take a financial risk in an entrepreneur’s ambitious idea, but there is also the knowledge and support coming from a well-connected startup community.

As a result, there are more self-made millionaires living now than ever before. Even though Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump wrote a book together, and yes, I read it, claim in their book, “Why We Want You to Be Rich,” that middle class is disappearing, it’s still easier than ever to jump from zero to hero in the tech world.

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What Does Hero Mean To You?

Every entrepreneur must define what “hero” means to them. There are successful entrepreneurs who do not stop at just achieving monetary fulfillment and recognition. There are the visionaries of tomorrow, for example, who are busy building the world we are going to soon live in.

Look at Elon Musk’s Evolution project with CNN, where he shares his views on transportation, energy, population, and artificial intelligence. Look at Uber’s announcement on self-driving cars partnerships. Now we know where they’re heading with all those enormous rounds.

Look at Google’s continuous innovation and research.

We see all these companies redefining the way we live, all as a direct result of their founders’ ambitions. I consider each one of them to be no less ambitious than Napoleon, and never before have we had so founders living at one time. For this reason, I consider today to be theAge of Napoleons.

What Are Your Strengths?

Not everyone is a Napoleon, and that’s ok. To understand whether or not you are, I’d recommend taking an online test by Gallup to understand your strengths. Gallup’s approach is quite interesting. Instead of improving upon your weaknesses, his prescription is to understand what are you good at, and become better at it.

I believe that the next tech Napoleon must be futuristic, visionary, or include a similar theme because it will give them the ability to inspire the masses and effectively lead.

Lastly, to fine tune your Napoleon charisma, I would recommend reading an excellent book that Paul Singh recommends as a part of his public speaking course – “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane. It’s an excellent resource that touches on many things, including how to command the respect of others, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques, and other practical exercises — to help make you into the Napoleonic conquerer in tech that you are searching for in yourself.

This article was also shared on Startup Grind

About the Author

Oleg Yefymov

Entrepreneur since childhood with over a decade of experience in setting up and managing businesses, social and entertainment initiatives. Founder and CEO of a digital agency in Tel Aviv with prominent clients like PayPal, Samsung, FTV, Israeli Prime Minister's office, Tel Aviv municipality, Babylon, Publicis, etc. Took an active part in founding StarTau (Tel Aviv University's Entrepreneurship Center). Currently working on a social network for tenants and landlords.

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