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entrepreneur

A Great Night At Beekman 33 Idea Salon

You know an event is inspiring when guest speakers thoroughly enjoy presenting their talks to the audience. I recently had the privilege of presenting a talk at the launch of Beekman 33 Idea Salon (an intimate gathering of like-minded individuals who share a passion for creativity, art, food, music, tech, and collaborating created by Colin McCabe, Platform Strategist at Mashery).

I hardly need my arm to be twisted when asked to present at an intimate gathering of fearlessly creative people who want to change the world by DOING something (not just talking about it). But I was surprised at how effective and inspiring the event turned out to be (a testament to the need for us to continuously create these opportunities for intimate, truly engaging interaction with each other in the real world — social media is lovely but nothing beats an exchange of ideas and compelling conversation eye-to-eye… over drinks and good food).

The presentations (five total) were a diverse representation of artists and entrepreneurs sharing their developing projects, seeds of ideas and thoughts on problems at the forefront of business. My presentation (entitled “Entrepreneurs as Extremophiles“) was based on a post I wrote a few weeks ago on my personal blog which resonated with a lot of people — you can find here).

I was truly humbled by the warm reception I received and everyone’s awesome feedback. So glad I could share something that inspired others. I also shared with people some of the new events Served Fresh Media will be producing that will create a platform for these types of meaningful exchanges when and where they are needed the most!

Colin will post a recap of the evening including video shortly. As soon as he does, I’ll provide the link. Until then, below are a few Instagram photos from the evening.

All good things.

Charlie

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Entreprenuers as Extremophiles

According to Google no one has yet to make a correlation between entrepreneurs and extremophiles. As a matter of fact, a search of the term turns up only 289,000 results. This strikes me as surprising. But then, most people don’t understand what makes the heart of entrepreneurs tick much less what an extremophile is.

Weird Life by David ToomeyAfter reading a NY Times book review of the recently published Weird Life by David Toomey (a book that delves into the little-understood life of microbes that live in the most extreme environments on the planet), the only thing that kept popping up in my mind as I learned more and more about these micro organisms (called extremophiles), is their similarity to entrepreneurs.

Wikepedia defines extremophiles as coming from “the Latin extremus meaning “extreme” and Greek philiā (φιλία) meaning “love”.”

Extreme love.

Who better understands extreme love than entrepreneurs who sacrifice money, comfort, relationships, careers, financial stability and sometimes life itself for the extreme love of their outrageous dreams, their businesses and their relentless desire to change the world?

As the mystery of these micro organinisms unfolded before me, the correlation between extremophiles and entrepreneurs became forever entwined in my mind:

An extremophile “is an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth.” — Wikepedia

“Some micro-organisms thrive in boiling water under pressure; others feed on sulfur, salt, deadly poisonous elements, even radioactivity. Toomey describes one fungus found in the “water core of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, ingeniously and fearlessly converting nuclear radiation into usable energy and managing radiation damage by keeping copies of the same chromosome in every cell.” “Extremophiles” can be found living in ice, under the sea floor, multiplying in clouds or huddled implausibly deep beneath the ground in a newly discovered geological biosphere. These tiny cells — a pinhead would be a world to them — do not look particularly spectacular. Most of them are just minute rods that grow by fission. But they are chemical factories of extraordinary versatility.” — NY Times book review,

Extremophiles, in all their exotic glory, sound like the stuff of great science fiction. Likewise, entrepreneurs are more closely related to sci-fi aliens traveling the universe, millions of light years in extreme circumstances, in search of new opportunities and ways to assert their presence, than ordinary human beings who happily accept and live within the limitations that life, society and family place on them.

But what makes entrepreneurs the macro version of extremophiles is their ability, passion and thirst to thrive in the extreme crevices of life in this world (uncertainty, constant criticism, financial despair, self-doubt, fear, failure) when the rest of humanity has the good sense to work at all costs to avoid these painful extremes.  Whereas life tests the limitations of the average person, the entrepreneur (like extremophiles) tests the limitations of life — and they get off on it.

Alas, here is Dictionary.com’s definition of “entrepreneur”:

Entrepreneur: a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

I propose the following revised definition that more accurately explains these odd creatures and their behavior:

Entrepreneur: a person who exhibits extreme love and passion to change the world through creating and managing an enterprise or business and thrives in psychological, emotional and social extreme conditions that are detrimental to most human beings on Earth;  they are creative factories of extraordinary versatility.

My definition may not be entirely spot-on, but it comes far closer to defining an entrepreneur than standard dictionaries do today. Maybe, in this startup-innovation world economy we’re in, it’s time to put entrepreneurs under a microscope to understand what they are and just how they manage to survive and to achieve the impossible in extreme circumstances with extreme passion.

Full Disclosure: I am an entrepreneur.

 

A Movie Every Entrepreneur Should See: “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (VIDEO)

The following synopsis of Jiro Dreams of Sushi is from the official trailer YouTube page:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi Official Trailer #1 – Jiro Ono Documentary (2012) HD
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JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi, but even at his age he sees himself still striving for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow. The feature film debut of director David Gelb, JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world, and a loving yet complicated father.

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