I'm not known as a follower of fashion, joiner of clubs, or even someone who knows a good idea when they see it. Not normally. The Entrepreneur Manifesto from the wonderful, effervescent, Julie Meyer at Ariadne Capital is, however, a good idea and I can see it.
I've endorsed it, even if previously agreeing with clause 5 has got me into significant disputes with some investors (and even though I agree with clause 5, I have happily taken investment in my current company from NESTA with whom I have no disputes and even find things to agree with 🙂 )
1. That Leaders are those people who create trust in society and their businesses, and that trust is
efficient. Success is forged through competition and human greatness is possible precisely
because people are not the same and they have the option to choose whether they want to lead
2. That the Entrepreneur creates intellectual and financial wealth through which the entire society
benefits and progresses, and so Entrepreneurs and their teams should be richly rewarded for
taking the risks that they do (and which the rest of society chooses not to but from which it still
3. That the bigger the State grows, the weaker the people become – big government creates
4. Successful entrepreneurs of hyper growth companies are a subset of entrepreneurs who are a
subsector of a strong citizenry who take full accountability for their lives and understand not
only their rights but their total responsibilities.
5. That no real, sustainable wealth creation through entrepreneurship ever owed its success to
6. That successful entrepreneurs cite common factors that shape their unique drive, self-belief and
desire to create and contribute at every stage in life – education, travel, opportunities to test
what they can do as individuals, learning how to sell early in life, strong teachers, business role
models, parents and mentors who honestly encouraged them to be everything they could be.
7. That it is still counter-cultural to be an entrepreneur in the UK and Europe but it is no longer a
niche activity or aspiration; the emergence of serial entrepreneurs and the impact of their wealth
and experience is felt in their backing of the next generation of entrepreneurs.
8. That early stage venture capital now has two distinct areas – early early stage venture capital, and
late early stage venture capital. The only people who do and can do the former exquisitely well
are entrepreneurs backing other entrepreneurs.
9. That world leading firms can just as easily come out of the UK and Europe as well as anywhere
else in the world. Historically, UK and European entrepreneurs haven’t played on the global
stage; not because they are inferior, but because they come from a culture that encourages them
not to expect success. This is changing and must change further still.
10. That the financing of entrepreneurship has not kept pace with the high quality and achievements
of entrepreneurs in the UK and Europe.
11. That the triple play of the internet, entrepreneurship, and individual capitalism is an unstoppable
force around the world, and that Individual Capitalism is the force that will shape the 21st
12. That Talent flocks to great opportunities, and as those companies grow, leaders should have the
flexibility to make the right decisions about talent in the firm – not everyone can or needs to
make it from start to finish in a start-up, not even the founders.
13. That great people have great ideas and build great teams, and that capital always backs great
people with great ideas who build great teams – always has, and always will.
14. That each one of us has a unique contribution to make to the world. It is our responsibility to
determine what that is, and to make it.
15. That we are a small group today in Entrepreneur Country who understand and believe these
statements, and that these will dictate the future success of the UK and Europe.
17 June 2008
Julie goes on to ask:
Please email your endorsement of the manifesto to entrepreneurcountry[at]ariadnecapital.com”
The only reason I can think of that you would not want to do just that is if you are already based in Silicon Valley (and if you are – please invite me as I love it there) and have access to staggering pools of talent and investment and live in an environment that really understands and respects entrepreneurial zeal.
And now, back to a cold, damp, grey day in England…
“not everyone can or needs to make it from start to finish in a start-up, not even the founders.”
In my experience, especially not the founders. Founders have bright ideas, see gaps in markets, build teams of people from nothing, and work their butts off to find out whether something is possible. It takes a whole different mindset to take a proved product and exploit it commercially, and run a business that does the same thing day in, day out. I've always believed that one of the key tasks for a founder is to make themselves expendable, find a replacement and move on, so that they can run with the next bright idea, and the next, and the next….
“each one of us has a unique contribution to make to the world. It is our responsibility to determine what that is, and to make it.”
Damn straight! Amen to that!
Fred Wilson says the same things here http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2009/02/a-stimulus-plan-for-venture-capital-no-thanks.html
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