Is entrepreneurship an art or a science?

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Desh Deshpande
Desh Deshpande
Desh Deshpande

By Desh Deshpande

(Editor’s note: This is Part-4 of the weekly video column with philanthropist and serial entrepreneur Desh Deshpande, with excerpts from his book “On Entrepreneurship and Impact.” This column appears every Monday.)

A common question that I have been asked dozens of times is whether entrepreneurship is an art or a science.

I have a feeling that people expect me to choose one or the other, or to say, “It’s partly art and it’s partly science.”

I don’t think that is the right answer.

My answer is: “Entrepreneurship today is no longer an art or science but, a career.”

When we started companies back in the 70’s and 80’s, there wasn’t much of an entrepreneurship culture. If your company failed back then, you would have taken a big hit.

Now, however, we have the infrastructure to make entrepreneurship a full-time career for many around the world. It’s perfectly acceptable today to start a second venture, after failing the first, and you might be much better at it the second time around. Some of the biggest entrepreneurs failed at their first company and, as a result, learned a lot of lessons from that initial failure.

Typically, an idea takes 4-6 years to develop. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, we got one shot at being successful. Today if an idea doesn’t work out you can simply start over and try again.

Why is this important?

What it means to be an entrepreneur has changed since my early entrepreneurship days. Today you can make a commitment to entrepreneurship as a career. If you don’t feel you are ready to be an entrepreneur, you can still join a small startup to get your feet wet before starting out on your own entrepreneurial journey. You can hone your entrepreneurial skills with experience and practice.

If you want to be an entrepreneur commit yourself to entrepreneurship as a career. Don’t look on a single failure as a setback or a blemish on your record but as a learning opportunity to improve yourself and a stepping stone to your next project.

(About Desh Deshpande: During his entrepreneurial career spanning over three decades, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande has built several companies. He has injected his passion for innovation and entrepreneurship into a number of social impact initiatives in India, the USA and Canada. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments by many institutions including being named co-chair of President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He currently also serves as a Life Member of the MIT corporation. He resides in Boston together with his wife, Jaishree.)

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