Tagged: The Wall Street Journal

The Badass Entrepreneur

street-fight-self-defense

“A unique combination of breaking rules and being smart will help you become an entrepreneur.”

According to a recent research by economists Ross Levine and Yona Rubinstein, at the National Bureau of Economic Research: “Smart, rule-abiding teenagers are less likely to become successful entrepreneurs than equally intelligent teens who engage in illicit activities.”

Here are a few findings from the research:

– Self-employed workers and entrepreneurs were more likely to engage in illicit and risky activities as youth than were salaried workers. These behaviors include but aren’t limited to shoplifting, marijuana use, playing hooky at school, drug dealing and assault.

– The self-employed workers exhibited greater self-esteem, scored higher on learning aptitude tests and were more likely to come from high-earning, two-parent families than other employment types.

– Self-employed workers who have incorporated their businesses show the intent to start a new, profitable venture and are therefore more representative of entrepreneurship than those who haven’t incorporated their businesses.

– Such self-employed workers with risk-taking tendencies in combination with high self-esteem make successful entrepreneurs but are sometimes prone to dangerous lapses in judgment.

– The research also shows that individuals who left their salaried jobs to start their businesses, worked more hours and also earn more per hour than other employment types.

– Last but not the least, growing student loan burdens has been killing startup dreams for many young people. So people try to stick to salaried jobs to pay off their loans, but sometimes it gets too late to venture into self-employment.

At the end, the research suggests that entrepreneurship pays off. It gives more self satisfaction and is more rewarding & encouraging for personal growth. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task and does not happen overnight. It involves continues learning, innovation, the right know-how and the ability to take risks.

Gardner’s Pursuit of “Happyness”

Christopher Paul Gardner is an American entrepreneur, investor, stockbroker, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son, Christopher, Jr.

Gardner’s personal struggle of establishing himself as a stockbroker while managing fatherhood and homelessness is portrayed in the 2006 motion picture The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino, starring Will Smith. The unusual spelling of the film’s title comes from a sign Gardner saw when he was homeless. In the film, “happiness” is misspelled (as “happyness”) outside the daycare facility Gardner’s son attends.

After Gardner separation from his wife, he ended up homeless and often scrambled to place his child in daycare, stood in soup lines and slept wherever he and his son could find safety—in his office after hours, at flophouses, at parks and even in a locked bathroom at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

His BIG break:

Gardner worked to become a top trainee at Dean Witter Reynolds. He arrived at the office early and stayed late each day, persistently making calls to prospective clients with his goal being 200 calls/day. His perseverance paid off when, in 1982, Gardner passed his licensing exam on the first try and became a full employee of the firm.

In 1987, Chris Gardner established the brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co, in Chicago, Illinois, an institutional brokerage firm specializing in the execution of debt, equity and derivative products transactions for some of the nation’s largest institutions, public pension plans and unions.

His new company was started in his small Presidential Towers apartment, with start-up capital of $10,000 and a single piece of furniture: a wooden desk that doubled as the family dinner table.

Gardner reportedly owns 75 percent of his stock brokerage firm with the rest owned by a hedge fund. He chose the name “Gardner Rich” for the company because he considers Marc Rich, the commodities trader pardoned by former president Bill Clinton in 2001, “one of the most successful futures traders in the world.”

The war against Economic inequality – Occupy Wall Street

Economic inequality has been growing steadily for three decades. According to the most definitive data, assembled by economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, the top 1 percent received 10 percent of all U.S. income in 1979. By 2007, just before the Great Recession, that share had risen to 23 percent.

What most Americans don’t know, however, is that before the late 1970s, inequality had been falling for five decades. The Golden Age of capitalism—the 30 years from the end of World War II through the mid-1970s, when gross domestic product, wages, and incomes grew faster than at any comparable period in American history—was marked not by financial excesses and widening inequality, but by equalizing growth and broadly shared prosperity.

Of course, not every Occupy Wall Street protester has reviewed the hard data. But the thread running through the range of grievances voiced at occupations around the country is anger over high and rising inequality.

Few measures would help the long-term health of the economy more than reducing the economic and political clout of Wall Street. The financial sector exists to connect savers with investors and to do so at the lowest feasible cost and risk. In a sensible world, we would view the financial sector as nothing more than a transactions cost to be minimized along the way to producing the goods and services that the economy is really about.

The flip-side: AN UNREALISTIC GOAL

Here’s the difference between opposing the outsize gains reaped by financial-industry companies and demanding an end to “unequal income distribution.” The former is justified anger at a specific abuse of taxpayers by politically connected financiers. The latter is a fool’s errand.

No society has come close to making wealth distribution equal. The great egalitarian experiments of the 20th century proved this, as attentive readers have known since the 1957 publication of Yugoslav dissident Milovan Đilas’ The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System, which revealed shocking disparities in quality of life in the “workers’ paradises” of Eastern Europe. China gave the world a horrific double-shot of rural poverty and (relative) urban wealth; it is only since the country joined global trading markets that it has seen provincial poverty decline.

At the same time, income inequality in China has grown, as it does in every rising economy. Growing wealth disparities are in fact a sign that overall prosperity is increasing in a competitive marketplace. The economist Gary Becker recently described how this works: “It would be hard to motivate the vast majority of individuals to exert much effort, including creative effort, if everyone had the same earnings, status, prestige, and other types of rewards. Fewer individuals would engage in the hard work involved in finishing high school and going on to college if they did not expect their additional education to bring higher incomes, better health, more prestige, and better opportunities to marry.”

Creating general equality of opportunity is among the greatest U.S. achievements. But creating equality of outcomes has caused misery everywhere it has been tried.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Network Through Sprouter

This new free social networking website is spreading fast and wide: already rooted in 170 countries, connecting entrepreneurs across the world.

Sprouter is a networking site designed for entrepreneurs, by Sarah Prevette who is the only Canadian to be on the list as Top 30 under 30 in North America – the list was put together by Inc. magazine. It was less than a year that Sprouter was introduced to web, but it is already embraced by entrepreneurs in 170 countries. That is impressive.

What has made this website so special and fast-growing? One of the many possible answers to that is in it unique setup that creates an atmosphere that is similar to a seminar rather than an informative website or Facebook.

Sprouter is a forum where entrepreneurs log on and ask questions and state challenges they are facing which is followed by the answers from peers and connection through answering or making an introduction. It is a very active, and participation based community which spread throughout the web very quickly. Sprouter took off rapidly because many small business owners or entrepreneurs did not have a pool of information and resources that they can access to. Also, the information and advices are provided by people similar to them, making it more credible and precise.

Undoubtedly, it would have been difficult for Sprouter to have a strong base community when it was launched. Ms. Prevette explains that she marketed the site based on grass roots and voluntary support from the users over the course of its launching. Members referred Sprouter to other users, friends or even entrepreneurial publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Inc.

The success of Sprouter was inspired by the struggle Ms. Prevette had to go through while establishing her first company, upinion.com which is a pop culture website for teenagers. She noted that it would have been much easier to get help and find information if there was a source that she can rely on or a source kind enough to answer her cold calling wholeheartedly. The idea was based on the fact that there would be someone like her trying to set up her own business but lacking information and guidance.

As Sprouter became world-wide, the pool of information and potential connections grew larger; it began to provide possible clients, investors and partners as well for entrepreneurs across the globe. One of the issues of being too popular is that often the question you post on the forum may get pushed back before it is answered. This is why Sprouter is launching is new free Q&A service. This addition will provide a whole new forum where successful business owners can directly advise early stage entrepreneurs, on top of peer-to-peer service Sprouter offers. The new feature will have qualified – by Sprouter team – people who can answer questions that would have been lost in the wave of many others.

Sprouter offers a place where information and ideas can be shared and be improved through discussion. It also provides an environment for start-up entrepreneurs to acquire specific and need-to-know tips that may help them grow their business. The sheer numbers of its members speak for the quality and efficiency of the site.