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Startup Weekend Vancouver is a 54-hour sprint to building a business.  Such a concentrated effort demands drive, openness to ideas and honest feedback, and a positive working relationship with your new weekend colleagues.  The right attitude can go a long way.

If you are reading this, then you are interested in entrepreneurship much less an entrepreneur in waiting.  That makes you a special individual.  Think that through for a moment.  You want to create, and are willing to risk in ways that others are not.  Such is the difference between an everyday employee and the entrepreneur.  That’s you.

Were success assured, then we’d all be entrepreneurs.  Every last one of us would love to win the lottery, win at the casino table, and win in the stock market.  Why not win in the product and service markets, too?  We would drive our own (winning) fate, and determine our lifestyles to the smallest detail because every last one would be a winner.

Enter reality.

It’s not about winning, but how you play the game

The boundary in which the entrepreneurial game is played is not a threshold between winning and losing.  Winning and losing implies selfish schemes of overcoming other people, or a zero-sum game.  I win, you lose; you win, I lose.  One must be demanding of something more from the world.

Neither Richard Branson nor [enter iconic entrepreneur here] won anything except lost sleep, naysayers, and a whole lot of anxiety because nothing was guaranteed at startup.  Read that again.  Nothing was guaranteed.

Feeling so compelled to change the status quo will manifest itself into something new, different and desired – because you are an entrepreneur who, along with others, is willing to make it happen.  What successful entrepreneurs do is create legitimacy.

ƒ(Initiative & Integrity) = Legitimacy

I wrote two blog posts this past week.  One encouraged entrepreneurs to just get started instead of slowing the potential pace of progress.  The other had a completely different focus – integrity should be fundamental to any business, and is neither a core value nor a power to impress upon others.

Legitimacy is a function of the initiative and integrity.

The right balance

Too little initiative undercuts integrity.  No one wants to work with or for a lazy person.  He or she wants something for nothing (“a loser”).  That’s awful.  Similarly, who wants to work with someone who spends all of his or her time dreaming and considering when just a little effort could go a long way to creating something new?  They call that “analysis paralysis.”  With either attitude, there is no quality of integrity.

To the other extreme, one’s integrity can be pushed too far.  It becomes focus gone awry born of a poor attitude.  Trying to prove oneself (“I want to be viewed as a winner”) is a petty reason to start a business; at the same time, being perfect (“I want to win”) will not realistically spur a product to market.  Lost focus tarnishes if not diminishes initiative.

There is a sweet spot when initiative goes up and so too does integrity.  When this happens, several positive-sum actions take place.  The entrepreneur garners the respect of others in addition to their desire to associate.  The result requires consistency through self-motivation when nothing is guaranteed, even when no one is watching.  The right balance over time becomes legitimacy.  A legitimate startup is a successful startup by whatever mission, values and culture its entrepreneur devises.

Planning for new, different, and desired is an attitude

The right balance of initiative and integrity can, with an outstanding idea, create a special phenomenon.  The activities and the positioning of the product or service becomes an article or arrangement that is new, different, and desired.  That’s legit in the world of entrepreneurship.

Again, entrepreneurship isn’t a matter of winning and losing.  One must overcome by respectable effort, and being deemed someone with whom to associate either/both for colleagueship or for transaction.  Have a premise of the attitude necessary to produce legitimacy going for you as you walk into Startup Weekend Vancouver and your imagination and creativity will be free to come to life.  Even better, the legitimacy of others with whom you work will compound into a profoundly productive and fun experience!


Startup Weekend Vancouver 2017 by Techstars Startup Programs will take place June 2-4 at CoLab, 915 Broadway Street, Vancouver, WA 98660. See the Eventbrite bulletin for further details and to purchase your ticket. Students are eligible for a student discount using the code ‘VANWASTUDENT’.

 

 

Danny Rehr
Danny Rehr is a recent graduate of University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business where he earned an MBA with a concentration in strategy. Most recently he worked in organization development consulting with previous roles in operations, systems administration, training and project management. He loves coffee and fountain pens.