The conservative vision on entrepreneurship. E.g. Glenn Beck

February 25, 2011

Just browsing the news during lunch I see the conservative American radio-tv commentator Glenn Beck, apologizing or something he said. This picture is shown in the article:

I focus in the poster behind this gentleman. Entrepreneurship it says, and then two hands trying to grab or magically making float a light bulb.

I have the impression that this is a promotion of the classical idea of Entrepreneurship. The 1000 times repeated mantra that anyone can have an idea, work hard and become rich. The proof is the thousands of individuals who have done it.

Light bulb is a popularly known icon for an idea. This was “coined” by Alva Edison. I mean, I don’t think that anyone took a picture with a light bulb before him :)

We all have seen this picture below. And perhaps listened to the stories of how patience he was. How he tried his experiments over and over… Persistence is the key ingredient to success…. bla, bla, bla…

They have put in our mind the idea of Edison working in his lab, coming up with something that we all admire. Sure, he was a genius, but he was not alone.

Successful entrepreneurship is about working with people. Even though Edison is alone in the pictures, there should have been a picture of many. He had a strong network of people who provided valuable ideas, not only for the light bulb, but many other inventions. See for example the article in Wikipedia: Edison Pioneers.

Entrepreneurship is not about individualism. I thought that, but I was wrong. Ideas are good, but are worthless until someone get things done. That is an entrepreneur. But entrepreneurship lives within a system. And if we want economic development, and progress we need the right socioeconomic innovation system. An environment, that I would say in most of the times it’s not necessarily accord to the ideas aired by Beck.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, some firms did ok but the majority failed. I know how the lives of these people are, because it was mine. The vast majority (for example in the US, every year 2 million Americans start their own business) is a bad life. It really breaks my heart to see people buying the story of a successful individual, and just keep trying day after day, without the right network. Let’s not encourage wrong ideas about entrepreneurship.

So, Mr. Beck, I really like this promotion of entrepreneurship. But maybe you could have, instead of two hands reaching the light bulb, maybe a diverse team holding it…

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3 Responses to “The conservative vision on entrepreneurship. E.g. Glenn Beck”

  1. Jason Says:

    With regards to tech innovation, it has definitely become a lot more that way. It is true that many of the great tech success stories started with one or two people working closely together and then it grew (HP, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.). But much more so now, it requires more and more collaboration. But as the technology gets more complex it takes more and more coordination from an order of magnitude more of people to bring around a successful idea IMO.

  2. Jason Says:

    But are you implying the conservative view of entrepreneurship is done by a single person? Because if that was your intent, I don’t think most conservatives would agree.

    • carlos9900 Says:

      Yeah, perhaps the word is not conservative. Any other suggestion to define Beck and his crowd? — While I believe that many liberals (or left wing) see entrepreneurship with suspicious and lack of understanding, I also believe, that many conservative see entrepreneurship as an inherently individual process. Something that I respectfully disagree with.


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