SL #9: The Psychology of Entrepreneurship

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Welcome to SL #9! Have you ever wondered why some entrepreneurs are more successful than others? What personality traits tend to skew a person toward being entrepreneurial and taking risk? In this show, we are joined by Dr. Doug Griest of Management Psychology Group.

Join us for a great chat about the inner workings of the entrepreneurial mind!

As usual, we throw some more folks “under the bus” in true fashion. Bringing you truth, justice, and the American way, baby!

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This was a wonderful discussion that provided a lot of insights into how the entrepreneurial mind works, and what tends to separate those successful entrepreneurs from the ones who end up as disgruntled middle managers in someone else’s empire. Discover the inner workings of the FFM (Five Factor Model) for analyzing those personality traits (Openness, Conscientiousness, Emotional, Agreeableness, and Social/Extroversion.) You’ll also enjoy the conversation around how early stage companies can use certain metrics to identify those individuals that make for good critical first hires. Oh, and what about the spousal side of things?

Sampling of Soundbytes:

Before we get onto the pro forma questions that at least ostensibly have something to do with entrepreneurship, the real thing we’re all interested in is .. what’s wrong with Scott?

You find that successful entrepreneurs tend to be more stable. When you look at their ability to handle stress, they are well constructed from an emotional standpoint to be able to weather those storms.

If they don’t achieve their goals, they’re not very agreeable.

Hunger, in the sense of motivation, is an innate quality. You can’t create hunger in someone – its either there or it isn’t. For most successful entrepreneurs, that is one of their traits.

Testing has been done for years and years and years, but personality is personality – it hasn’t changed. We’ve just been able to formulate it and conceptualize it better.

With regard to extroversion, research has shown no difference between an entrepreneur and a regular business person.

There are some core characteristics that appear to make up the successful entrepreneur … these characteristics are more extreme than they are in most normal people.

A strong personality trait means you are going to have pluses and minuses. Those minuses often show up in social interactions.

I was young and needed the money.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the entrepreneur is cavalier, but they are more likeley to see the upside of an idea, rather than the downside.

As people think about taking risks or maybe starting a company or going with an idea, I think a basic self analysis tool is, if it scares you in the idea phase, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

The amusement park analogy: the spouse who thinks they are getting on a bumper car ride all of a sudden winds up on Space Mountain, and they didn’t realize it. That’s a different experience.

We all struggle with balance in life, whether we’re entrepreneurs or not, but entrepreneurs have a partciularly difficult problem with that, because they are absolutely consumed by what they are doing.

A lot of VCs, contrary to what you might think, are often slow to make people changes.

Of course, there is much more content contained within the show itself. Enjoy! To play it, use the tools at the top of this post – you can play it via the embedded Flash player by pressing the big play button at the top, or download it to play on your computer or MP3 player.

Links referenced within this episode:

Podsafe music used within this episode:

  • Sundial by Bill Derome
  • Lullaby for Lawyers by Steve Newman
  • All the Money in the World by Hutch

Tune in and find out!

Our format is a little out of the norm as far as podcasts go. We treat our efforts as a true “show” rather than a super-concise (limited) vehicle for delivery of information. Therefore, the podcasts can run a bit long. While we try to have very substantive discussions, we also try to have a lot of fun along the way (and that tends to elongate the programming a wee bit.) :) Our theory is that if we are having fun during the show, hopefully, you will be having a little fun listening as well.

Here is the breakdown for the show, in case you want to hop around.

Intro 00:00 to 01:14
Smalltalk and introductions: 01:14 to 03:45
Under the Bus 03:45 to 13:50
Announcements/Mailbag: 13:50 to 19:27
Commercial/Comedy Break: 19:28 to 23:05
Main Discussion Topic 23:05 to 70:00
Commercial/Comedy Break: 70:00 to 71:00
Analysis/Wrap-up: 71:00 to 73:14

A special thanks to Doug for coming in and hanging out with us!

We’ll be back soon with Joey Silver and Doug Spear with DLA Piper. In addition to chatting about what they see in the Atlanta early-stage market, we’ll be discussing some legal basics for startups.

We welcome your continued feedback as well! If you have an interest in appearing on the show, becoming a show sponsor (hint, hint), have some suggestions for topics, have feedback, or would just like to email us and tell us to “shove off”, we invite you to contact us.

And don’t forget – the message forums are up and running. If you need help with any aspect of your venture, we welcome you to jump in and get the help you need!



1 Comment so far »

  1. emmett childress said

    on April 23 2007 @ 4:09 pm

    Once again, great show guys!!! My buddy in Nashville,TN is working with someone like Mr. Griest. I now have a better understanding in regards to the need for Mr. Griest services. Thanks once again for posting the link to Jason Caplain’s Open Call to anyone who wanted to meet.

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