By Max Borders
Everybody’s quick to honor our teachers, support the troops, or tip their hats to firefighters.
Fair enough. These can be challenging and sometimes dangerous jobs; these men and women undoubtedly deserve our admiration and gratitude.
But it’s time to honor the courage of a different kind of public servant: those who fearlessly risk their time and money to move civilization forward. Those who tirelessly work 80 hour weeks with little to no pay, yet do not receive standing ovations or ticker tape parades when their mission is complete.
It’s time to salute our forgotten public servant: the entrepreneur.
Let’s start with the brutal reality: 80 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs will fail.
That means 8 out of the 10 people who are trying to figure out a way to offer you some product, service, or experience will crash and burn trying. Emotionally, spiritually, and often financially.
Yes, they are trying to make a profit — but ask any startup founder the real reason why they launched their company…it’s certainly not money. There are much easier, less stressful, and more financially conservative ways to make a living than starting a business. Money is not the only motive.
It can be exhausting, frustrating, and emotionally deflating — and that’s before any indication of being able to call your business a success or failure.
Entrepreneurship is hard. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things you can do. Now, it’s hard to imagine honoring the Gateses, Thiels, and Buffets of the world. After all, most of us honor them enough with our “certificates of performance” (cha-ching). But those guys are just the most visible, most successful entrepreneurs.
They make easy targets for critics in the media, because of a natural survivorship bias (we remember the extremely successful outliers while ignoring the other 80% who failed).
Exceptions prove the rule.
The entrepreneurs we want to honor are the ones who dream of becoming an outlier–the ones who are staying up late at night working on a business plan while waiting tables by day. It’s the ones who have just gone before a panel of VCs and been turned down by said VCs, but still refuse to give up because they believe in their idea. Maybe it’s the ones who are working on a prototype and have nothing but a few lines of code and a laptop to show investors.
If you’re an entrepreneur reading this, realize that you are a public servant.
You are heroically risking your financial resources (and emotional sanity) to make the world a better place. You are a public servant, in the deepest and most meaningful sense of the term.
At Voice & Exit 2015 we’re partnering with Tech Ranch to honor these entrepreneurs. Tech Ranch works with startups to support them on their journey to success (or, well, failure). Here’s what Tech Ranch is about:
Starting and growing an idea into a business requires having the right people, information and tools. Tech Ranch Austin is the place where tech entrepreneurs come together to fill in the missing pieces and leverage the social capital of the community. Joining the Tech Ranch Community means having access to classes, workshops, mentorship programs, networking events, working and co-working space and especially the shared wisdom of the experienced entrepreneurs.
Visionaries need community. They need support. They need to know that their legacy is more than a balance sheet. The entrepreneurial contribution to modern civilization is so enormous it cannot be measured in any meaningful way.
And, yet, when was the last time you thanked an entrepreneur?
When was the last time you pondered the emotional sacrifice of those who brought us the stuff that makes our lives better like Netflix, cloud computing, or the countless other innovations that cumulatively create our modern standard of living?
Simply put, it is an amazing time to be alive. Teachers educate our future leaders. Soldiers are willing to go into harm’s way. And yet it’s our entrepreneurs who hustle eight days a week to create a society that’s worth fighting for in the first place.
Entrepreneurs are public servants, too.
If you know someone who’s interested in launching a startup, there’s no better way to accelerate that vision than attending this year’s Voice & Exit conference.
Voice & Exit provides a platform for radical, visionary (and often entrepreneurial) ideas.
We invite you to join us on June 20-21st for our 2015 event to hear entrepreneurial speakers like:
- John Mackey, Whole Foods founder and CEO
- Ryan Holiday, author and marketing prodigy
- Jamie Wheal, Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project
- Brian Robertson, author and founder Holacracy One
- Chris Rufer, founder of Morning Star Packing Company
- and many other great business leaders