The Difference 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 myth: entrepreneurs are nice for getting a company began, however not so nice when Wall Street is wanting over their shoulder. A part of this thinking is that founders of companies are mavericks, passionate doers with a vision, nontraditional of their approach to management and outspoken – the kind of rabble rousing that makes buyers uneasy. (What’s rabble rousing anyway?)

Passionate of their approach, some are seen as little more than televangelists who work their corporate gospel for all it is price, but when confronted with real management 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 consumer-friendly computer on this planet and took a byte (pun supposed) out of IBM’s market dominance. Passionate and visionary, Jobs had in his nook Steve Wozniak to deal with the structure of Apple. Before these guys, working on a pc required intensive data of code just to do a easy task. Many a computer science main seemed down at those that could not understand the basics of a computer. Then Apple got here alongside and altered all that posturing by inventing a user-friendly laptop that required no code, no programming knowledge, just plug and play. With their visually intuitive interface, Apple redefined what working on a computer meant. They modified the pc enterprise forever by creating computer systems for the rest of us.

So, it wasn’t a mystery why Mac grew to become the computer of selection for graphic designers – with it is deal with the graphical person interface and out of the box ease of operation, an Apple could possibly be used by anyone. Earlier than the Macintosh, all typesetting at ad businesses and design companies had to be despatched out to a type house to be set into these neat rows you see in magazines and newspapers. You by no means okaynew what the type would seem like until it came back. One improper calculation could ruin 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 unbiased typesetting firms overnight. Now all typesetting could be accomplished in house out of your desktop and changes might be made instantaneously. Apple was the David that slew Goliath and Apple patrons began to tackle a cult-like obsession.

But all was not well at Apple. Jobs’ direction for the company seemed at odds with CEO John Sculley. A power wrestle ensued and the board of directors sided with Sculley – Jobs was compelled out, and the press had a field day. To an outsider it made no sense. To a seasoned businessperson, it wasn’t soon enough. The founder whose ideology was what introduced the company to its present stage of profitability and notoriety was seen as a hindrance to the next part of success. The myth of the entrepreneur, unable to take the corporate forward, prevailed.

At first, the executive team took Apple down a road the place it had never been earlier than, and profits have been the proof that all was working. Time would tell, however, that a new CEO, several years of lack luster sales, and a low stock price are sufficient to make even essentially the most seasoned board of directors realize they might have made a mistake. The Macintosh started to look like an IBM clone. Just one other computer.

For apparent reasons, Jobs was asked back in 97 and the Apple model started to make a comeback. The entrepreneurial spirit returned and Apple stopped making products that regarded like grey boxes and started placing the ergonomic designs back into their industrial design. Classes learned from Jobs’ NEXT computer system were 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 brought the passion back to Apple. The parable of the entrepreneur had been broken. And let’s not overlook 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 through the ranks of Wharton, Yale or Harvard learned the ropes of hard work and numbers crunching, eventually landing a key leadership place after quite a bit of seasoning, are just as valid. Many a enterprise needs this fashion of management to operate and with over 50 million businesses in the United States, I would say the majority of them operate under this administration structure.

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

One of my favourite case studies of exemplary reorganizing is Harley Davidson. AMF drove the Harley name into the ground back within the 70s by firing employees and streamlining production to such a degree that Harley Davidson became the laughing stock of the motorcycle industry. In an effort to push for better and better profits, AMF forgot to make a superior product. It didn’t take lengthy for Japanese imports of higher quality to flood the American market.

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