from the world's big
Saras Sarasvathy Explains the Entrepreneurial Method
Question: What method do entrepreneurs use?
Saras Sarasvathy: I presented the entrepreneurial worldview fully born, if you will. But in actual fact I had to understand that by looking at what entrepreneurs actually do in a micro level, if you will. So in my research, I talked to a whole bunch of, you could call them successful entrepreneurs, but success was only a part of their story. I call them expert entrepreneurs. These are people who had several years of founding experience, of multiple firms, often success and failures and they had learned to perform well overtime. So they had taken at least one company public so of course people see them as successful entrepreneurs. And, when you study how they think and I gave them a 17-page problem set of typical start-of-decisions that all entrepreneurs have to make in starting a company. So I got to see at the micro level the kinds of things that they do. Not just the whole world view of how they think but how they implement that world view in their practical day to day business problem solving if you will and I found the CDs of things that they do and I wrote about five of these, the five principles in my book but I suspect there are more. And I think, as I teach and I look at more histories of entrepreneurs and I talk to them I think there will be more. So I don’t want to talk about this, that there are only five principles, but I can give you some examples.
So, one of the things I always talk about to my students is about cooking. Now, I say there are at least two ways of cooking. One is to start with a dish that you want to make and when you have a great recipe, go get the ingredients and then you make the dish. The other way, the way most of us cook I think, is we stumble into the kitchen, open the refrigerator and find stuff and if you come into my house you would find brown powder that you might have to smell to know what it is because I’m making it in food. And so, you kind of look at what you have and then you try to make something with it. The interesting question here is what difference does it make whether you cook using a recipe and proper ingredients or whether you stumble into the kitchen and cook something. It depends on how good a cook you are, what you end up cooking. So, you can get away from the basic ideas that you need to understand about running a business, so you still need to know how to manage your cash flow and things like that; but, when you just stumble into the kitchen and cook, what happens is, assuming you know how to cook and you’re a good cook, you are much more likely to come up with a new dish that even you might not have actually planned to make. Whereas if you are cooking from a recipe would get that dish, right? You wouldn’t get some of the new dish and that’s the interesting part of it.
So it’s not really a question of this is better than that, it is just that the way entrepreneurs do it, they work with what they have and they look around and say, “What can I do with this?” And then, “What else can I do with it?” So it goes back to the idea of doing the doable and then pushing it. So they just look around at the resources that are available to them and by resources I don’t even mean money. A lot of the entrepreneurs I study started with things like who I am, what I know and whom I know. So they are looking at what kind of a person am I, what kinds of things turn me on, what kind of things that I just will not do because it goes against my values. So, they have a sense of self. They know what they know and very often they are very good at knowing what they don’t know. So they look at what they know and don’t know and they look at the people that they know and they start talking to the people almost immediately and they bring them on board very early on. So they work with what they have to create something new. So that’s a technique and there are lots of techniques connected with that that we can learn and teach. It’s very useful in the classroom.
The second thing that they are very good at doing is to think through in deciding what to do with what you have. They are not really thinking about where will I get the biggest bang from the buck, which one is likely to lead me to the most profit? Instead they constantly asked themselves, “Would I do this even if I know I’m going to lose what I am investing in it?” Which is a very different criterion financially speaking for example and I call that the “affordable loss criterion”. And, a great example of that is there are people who have good jobs, right? It pays 100,000 to 200,000 a year who leave and start a company. Now, the standard gut reaction is to say, “Oh, my God.” They are, you know, entrepreneurs are risk takers. They are just risk grabbing, you know. They like jumping off buildings or whatever. But in actual fact when you look at how a lot of these entrepreneurs make decisions, especially the experienced ones, they are not really saying, “You know what, I’m making 200,000 today but I believe if I do this, I will make 20 million and therefore you know, I’m just going to invest everything I have.” That’s not the way they think about it at all. They think, “You know what, this looks like an interesting thing to do. I think I would enjoy doing it. I always wanted to do this kind of thing. So I think I can put 50,000 into it and six months of my life. What is the worst that will happen? Maybe, you know, I have left the job and I’m back on the job market and maybe I don’t make 200,000, I make a 150,000. But, if I don’t do it now, when will I ever do it? I always wanted to be my own boss. I always wanted to build a heart monitor because my dad died of a heart, or whatever that thing is that is moving that makes, it comes from who they are and what they know and whom they know. It’s very close to what they already have on hand. So that’s kind of the second thing.
And the third and most important thing is that they work with people and they work with people in a very interesting way. They don’t go and say, you know, here is something I want to build. You know, Gadget G and this Gadget G is going to change the world so who do I need to bring on broad then I go and sell this and I’m so good, I’m so charismatic. I’m such a good salesperson. I bring people on board. No, no, no. What they really do is they are very good at getting you to tell them, you know, what would you want to do with Gadget G? They allow you to change their vision of Gadget G if you are willing to put skin in the game. So they build this network of stakeholders who actually put stake in the ground and each of them invest only what they can afford to lose. So the affordable lost works with this stakeholder thing in a very interesting way. So what happens is, since each person is putting real skin in the game and they are deciding what to put in based on something they care about so much that they are willing to lose.
So the affordable loss does two things: on the one hand if you fail, it keeps failures really small. Something I talked about earlier. But on the other hand it gives you a different way to evaluate an opportunity. A different way that does not depend entirely only profits, that you would do this for some reason, some reason that you have even if you lose the money you would do it whatever that motivation may be. It could be something as simple as I can’t stand my boss, as much as I want to. It could be something as simple as that or it could be very lofty saying that, you know, I really wanted to help women back home and I want to do this venture because it would help them and it’s okay in the process I try and fail. So the motivation can be anything but the logic is kind of the same in each case.
Recorded on: May 19, 2009
The key skill is assessing the resources available.
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".