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Daily Archives: November 8th, 2009


(An excerpt from an interview with Jim Collins in INC. magazine).  Article is HERE.

This content is very useful to me as the owner of a start-up architectural practice.  Because I hate risk but I love ambiguity! 

How do you define entrepreneurship?

I take a broad view of it. The traditional definition — founding an entity designed to make money — is too narrow for me. I see entrepreneurship as more of a life concept. We all make choices about how we live our lives. You can take a paint-by-numbers approach, or you can start with a blank canvas. When you paint by numbers, the end result is guaranteed. You know what it’s going to be, and it might be good, but it will never be a masterpiece. Starting with a blank canvas is the only way to get a masterpiece, but you could also blow up. So, are you going to pick the paint-by-numbers kit or the blank canvas? That’s a life question, not a business question.

It has to do with your ability to handle risk, no?

Not risk. Ambiguity. People confuse the two. My students used to come to me at Stanford and say, “I’d really like to do something on my own, but I’m just not ready to take that much risk. So I took the job with IBM.” And I would say, “You’re not ready for risk? What’s the first thing you learn about investing? Never put all your eggs in one basket. You’ve just put all your eggs in one basket that is held by somebody else.” As an entrepreneur, you know what the risks are. You see them. You understand them. You manage them. If you join someone else’s company, you may not know those risks, and not because they don’t exist. You just can’t see them, and so you can’t manage them. That’s a much more exposed position than the entrepreneur faces. But there’s lower ambiguity on the paint-by-numbers path: very clear but more risky. The entrepreneurial path: very ambiguous but less risk. Of course, the truth is that it’s all ambiguous, anyway. If you think you can predict the future, you’re crazy.


A blog on the Design Intelligence magazine website waxes optimistic about the future in spite of the current state of the economy, based on the state of the young generation preparing to enter the workplace. 

In a recent issue of Inc. Magazine, best-selling author and management guru Jim Collins was interviewed about thriving in light of the current economic “crazy times.” As someone who has made it his life’s work to study organizations, Collins exhibits a remarkable – and reassuring – energy about the future. When asked about the source of this optimism, he said,

“A lot of it has to do with the young generation. A general at West Point told me, ‘This is the most inspired and inspiring generation to come through West Point since 1945.’ I see the same thing with the young people who come to work for me. They have a sense of responsibility and service and a lack of cynicism that is remarkable and wonderful. It’s an ethos, and it’s collective…

Original blogpost is HERE.


Can starting a career or making a career comeback, for that matter, make sense during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? Sounds risky, right?

No. Our contrarian view at Design­Intelligence and among the executive board of the Design Futures Council is that success lies ahead for design professionals who can adapt to the new context and process new opportunities. This includes embracing the emerging professional service models. Evidence abounds that there is a fresh and exciting new profession on the horizon

Full article is HERE