Derek Sivers

Mastering entrepreneurship?


After reading the book “The Art of Learning”, I was thinking of mastery : committing yourself to years of achieving mastery of one single thing.

My first thought was computer programming, but that didn’t feel fulfilling enough. I enjoy it, but only as a means to a different goal.

Then I realized I could really commit myself to a lifetime mastery of entrepreneurship. It satisfies me on every level — much more for personal and altruistic reasons than financial.

But what the hell is mastery of entrepreneurship? Starting one successful company? Ten? Or is it something else entirely? There’s no championship and no finish line.

If entrepreneurship is about creating a new company, then mastering it means focusing just on starting the company and getting it profitable, but not getting involved with ongoing management, since management is a different skill. Once a company is profitable, the focused entrepreneur should then start a new company.

The Art of Learning talks a lot about mastering the simple skills one at a time.

In his chess examples, he would spend weeks competing with his teacher with only two pieces on the board, to thoroughly understand strategy with just those two pieces.

In his Tai Chi examples, he would spend hours a day for days or weeks on end, just doing one simple arm extension.

But what are the building block ingredients to entrepreneurship? Coming up with ideas? Turning rough ideas into a specific plan? Turning plans into a working system and specific goals? Working with people to ensure those goals are met?

Sorry I’m all questions and no answers today, but I’m really curious to hear your thoughts.