The Distinction Between Entrepreneur And Executive

The Distinction Between Entrepreneur And Executive

There may be an unwritten rule in enterprise that after an organization goes public, the original founders should be ousted. The parable: entrepreneurs are nice for getting an organization started, however not so great when Wall Street is looking over their shoulder. Part of this thinking is that founders of firms are mavericks, passionate doers with a vision, nontraditional in their approach to management and outspoken - the kind of rabble rousing that makes traders uneasy. (What is rabble rousing anyway?)

Passionate of their approach, some are seen as little more than televangelists who work their corporate gospel for all it's worth, but when confronted with real administration challenges, their methodologies are revealed to be a house of cards.

To put it mildly, this is a gross generalization and highly inaccurate.

Case in point, Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur with a vision - created the greatest user-friendly pc on the planet and took a byte (pun intended) out of IBM's market dominance. Passionate and visionary, Jobs had in his corner Steve Wozniak to handle the structure of Apple. Before these guys, working on a computer required in depth knowledge of code just to do a simple task. Many a pc science major looked down at those who couldn't understand the basics of a computer. Then Apple came along and adjusted all that posturing by inventing a user-pleasant computer that required no code, no programming knowledge, just plug and play. With their visually intuitive interface, Apple redefined what working on a pc meant. They modified the pc enterprise forever by creating computer systems for the rest of us.

So, it wasn't a thriller why Mac became the pc of selection for graphic designers - with it's deal with the graphical user interface and out of the box ease of operation, an Apple could be used by anyone. Before the Macintosh, all typesetting at ad companies and design corporations had to be sent out to a type house to be set into those neat rows you see in magazines and newspapers. You by no means knew what the type would look like until it came back. One incorrect calculation could wreck a piece. Calculating typefaces was a science only doled out to designers with a propensity for math. With applications like Pagemaker and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interfacing, Apple ruined impartial typesetting companies overnight. Now all typesetting could be accomplished in house out of your desktop and changes may very well be made instantaneously. Apple was the David that slew Goliath and Apple buyers started to take on a cult-like obsession.

But all was not well at Apple. Jobs' direction for the corporate seemed at odds with CEO John Sculley. A power struggle ensued and the board of directors sided with Sculley - Jobs was forced out, and the press had a discipline day. To an outsider it made no sense. To a seasoned businessperson, it wasn't quickly enough. The founder whose ideology was what introduced the corporate to its current stage of profitability and notoriety was seen as a hindrance to the following section of success. The myth of the entrepreneur, unable to take the corporate forward, prevailed.

At first, the executive group took Apple down a road where it had by no means been earlier than, and profits were the proof that all was working. Time would tell, nevertheless, that a new CEO, a number of years of lack luster sales, and a low stock value are sufficient to make even the most seasoned board of directors realize they could have made a mistake. The Macintosh started to look like an IBM clone. Just another computer.

For obvious reasons, Jobs was asked back in 97 and the Apple brand started to make a comeback. The entrepreneurial spirit returned and Apple stopped making products that looked like gray boxes and started placing the ergonomic designs back into their industrial design. Lessons discovered from Jobs' NEXT laptop system had been integrated into the new PowerMac lines, and the iMac introduced the Apple brand back to profitability. This was an entrepreneur with executive and strategic execution.

Jobs introduced the passion back to Apple. The parable of the entrepreneur had been broken. And let's not neglect Jobs' investment in Pixar earlier than it was acquired by Disney. A lot for the parable of the entrepreneur not understanding real business.

Conversely, executives who arose by means of the ranks of Wharton, Yale or Harvard realized the ropes of hard work and numbers crunching, finally touchdown a key leadership position after quite a bit of seasoning, are just as valid. Many a business needs this style of management to operate and with over 50 million companies within the United States, I might say the mainity of them operate under this management structure.

Just look at the number of law, accounting and engineering firms that will need to have serious systems in place to operate. This is not just a happy accident, it's tried and true enterprise 101. Many times executives are introduced in to clean up the massive mess created by a founder who didn't know any better.

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