Musings And Dialogue On Entrepreneurs And Decision Making (Part 1)

A bit of a new angle on this blog, this post is related to the early-stages of a research effort by my wife (who is a professor of marketing at UCLA's business school) with respect to entrepreneurs and decision-making. Though I am no scholar in the area of entrepreneurial decision-making, I understand that the area of overconfidence in entrepreneurs is a well-studied and documented bias, but that there may be other biases and decision-making characteristics of entrepreneurs that could be better understood.

The basic idea is that if you can better understand biases and faults in decision-making processes of entrepreneurs that one can improve the decision-making of entrepreneurs through training.

With that as backdrop, I'd welcome perspectives on a series of questions that I'll be posting here.

The first questions are, "How much of being a (successful) entrepreneur is innate personal characteristics (things like risk taking or creativity), and how much is a learned ability to manage behaviors (like ability to be decisive or to manage time well)?"

Here's my off-the-cuff perspective (as a person that does not consider himself an entrepreneur but a person closely involved with entrepreneurial ventures and approaches):

  • Nature - There's some things that entrepreneurs are born with. These things include dispositional characteristics like being a risk-taker, having a need for independence, having drive for success, being creative, having strong intuition, having persistence, and having stamina.
  • Nuture - There's some things that entrepreneurs can learn. These things include learning how to better communicate, how to network effectively, how to make decisions, and how to recognize proxy markets and adapt learnings. Potentially nuturable areas are learning empathy, sales, and trade skills relevant to intellectual property development (e.g., engineering, software design).

What are your thoughts and experiences?


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