Entrepreneurship, AKA ‘pragmatic anger’ - RSA

Entrepreneurship, AKA ‘pragmatic anger’

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  • Picture of Benedict Dellot
    Benedict Dellot
    Former Head of the RSA Future Work Centre and Associate Director
  • Employment
  • Enterprise

Entrepreneurship is not about money. It never has been. Look at any survey on the motivations for starting up in business and you’ll see that the desire for independence and greater freedom will nearly always trump the opportunity to make money. People start a business to be their own boss, get away from hierarchy and engage in something more meaningful.

While we know much of this already, it's still interesting to hear it said from the horse's mouth. So I thought I’d share some of the notes we took when we interviewed young entrepreneurs for our Disrupt Inc. project on new routes to start-up. What’s striking in the following quotes is that the urge to ‘create’ and vent ‘frustration’ crop up so many times as drivers. When Richard Sennett wrote that “work is the road to the unification of the self”, he could have just as easily been talking about entrepreneurship...


Really, entrepreneurialism is just setting something up to make things happen. But lots of things like that happen all the time and aren’t classed as ‘entrepreneurialism.’ Entrepreneurialism is making stuff happen.

Entrepreneurialism is just the vigorous pursuit of opportunities.

Frustration drove me to becoming an entrepreneur. I undertook an internship in a start-up and knew that creating a business is something I could do. I don’t want to be doing a crappy job.

I kept saying the term, “I’m really pissed off” until we made this happen. I think it’s actually like a sort of pragmatic anger.

I just like trying to do things differently – not for the sake of doing things differently, but for the sake of doing things better. And I always felt that if I was put into a corporate environment I’d have much, much less flexibility to do that.

I always wanted to be able to make my own decisions and try and put my own creativity to use without the restrictions of corporate bureaucracy.

I naturally get a bit more from making my own stuff and creating things myself as opposed to just using what’s available. So that’s me, that’s my nature.

It [starting a business] was genuinely down to lots of conversations in the pub about how p*ssed off we all were.  I guess it was primarily borne out of our own frustration really.

I don’t like having a boss. I love being able to control my own destiny and build my own day, and do things that I think are good for society in some way, but happen to make money.

I always wanted to create something.

I studied politics at university. But I always wanted to create things. I never knew that I wanted to become an ‘entrepreneur’, however. I just wanted choice in my life.


Follow Benedict Dellot on Twitter: @Benedictdel

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