Saturday, November 13, 2010

Are the best start up founders sociopaths?








I've been thinking about this lately and I've concluded that it takes a sort of criminal mindset (disregarding 'the rules') to be a startup founder / Entrepreneur.

This isn't necessarily bad. you can have a criminal mindset and have a positive effect on society (left side of the chart). Of course, most are negative (Right side of the chart).

Maybe it's a case of just a little bit of something that's bad when taken in high quantity (like, say, Caffine) can be a good thing.

Another term you could use in the place of Criminal Mindset might be Sociopath.

Some definitions from Profile of a Sociopath
Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility

Manipulative and Conning

Grandiose Sense of Self

Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt

Need for Stimulation

Callousness/Lack of Empathy

Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Any of this sound familiar? Ever seen any high profile tech founders exhibit some level of these behaviors? (Think: Jobs, Gates, Zuckerburg, Ellison)

I"m not saying the 'extreme' edge of sociopathic behavior is good. I am saying that some sociopathic behavior and being an Entrepreneur tend to go hand in hand.

Now, having been a startup founder, I can't say that I'm a sociopath, but, I do have a healthy disregard for the traditional 'rules' and some would say that makes me an outlier when it comes to fitting in.

And to that I say, ok, so be it.

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