“What is an entrepreneur?” – that is a question I am often asked to explain and elaborate on. Not only do people not know the meaning of the word when it pops up in our conversation, but also they can imagine what sort of animal an entrepreneur is.
Quite frankly that sort of ignorance frustrates me and if I see a lack of interest from the other party, I would just give a by-the-book definition of the word, sparing myself of any further digging into the matter, thus ending the conversation. But, on rare occasion, when I do see a twinkle of genuine curiosity in the person’s eyes or even sense the slightest bit of involvement from my counter party, I would open up my soul and let a poetic river flow out of my heart to what I believe an entrepreneur truly is.
Who are these fascinating “creatures”?
“A problem solver, an inventor, a creative mind, a do-er, a rebel, an outliner, a visionary” those are some of the adjectives I use to describe this fascinating creature, but I never forget to add: “someone who you can trust and stand behind”.
If this is how I see entrepreneurs, then why aren’t more people considered as such. There are many who are creative, who poses a certain charisma and you can sit in your chair and listen to them talk all night long, and of course people who are excellent at executing processes, but in fact it takes a combination of all those traits and a certain point of view to make one. I have read many of literature that discuses whether entrepreneurial thinking is something you are born with or something that can be taught, without ever reaching any conclusions.
In my view, it’s definitely 75% towards “born this way” and 25% – acquired skill. If we take entrepreneurship as a skill such as being good at math and chemistry (something that is a mentality, or rather way of brain functioning), which you are born with and thus predisposed to develop over the years. Even if you don’t develop in this field professionally you will always have an affinity towards problem-solving, which is equally valued. The percentages of whether it could be a gained skill is so low (and should be lower) because I am a firm believer that it is a state of mind, a talent, a way you see the world and that is nothing a school degree can give you, but still this percentage exists because as the same time if you have this God given gift you should by all means polish and perfect it with the help of some good reads.
So what do YOU do?
Another thousand-dollar question that I am constantly bothered with is: “What is it that you do?”. Of course this refers to my professional life, and I was lucky enough to be asked this question so frequently that I developed a habit of answering automatically with a 1, 2 & 3 formula. But, again, that is when I see that the other side is just making small talk, because usually when someone hears “multimedia design”, they either know what the field includes because they themselves have a similar education, are in that sphere or have come across it before, or are completely oblivious (which is the more often seen outcome). In the latter situation, there are two ways the conversation might go: either I am asked to further explain what this mythical being (a multimedia designer) is or they just “smile and wave” (the polite version of not really being fascinated by the amazingly interesting subject.
What is the second part?
Similarly to explaining what an entrepreneur is, the depiction of a multimedia designer (or graphic designer as in my case, more specifically) goes in a similar manner – dependent on my conversational partner. Of course, I can recite what the curriculum contained, but that doesn’t cover even half of the things that design is for me personally.
However, when asked by someone genuinely interested in the matter or when I am asked to refer someone to the craft – I am surely drooling rainbows (much like the famous 9gag meme).
As someone with art background, I was totally shocked (back in the day) to what technology offered me. Similar to the transition from analog to digital cameras, I was determined to grasp as much as I can from the digital art world i.e. design.
At the most, I think that the term “design” is misunderstood, overused, but above all – under appreciated. The first two traits go together as peanut butter and jelly i.e. the word is so overused and applied to everything visual related that it has become a byword for correctly and incorrectly connecting things to the matter. Recently, I came across an entertaining infographic of “The anatomy of the graphic designer” (it was meant to be ironic), the footnote in which said: “Warning: will critique everything and anything to the point when the words “font choice”, “color scheme”, “logotype” and/or “that modernized look” will make you puke with rage.”. I agree, that was a very stereotypical point of view, but it was meant to be funny, and it was pretty decent design, but it portrays a very low quality kind of pretentious wanna-be designers that give the rest of the clan an extremely bad reputation. For one thing, I believe that design is consisted of 75% problem solving, 10% – calculation, 10% – aesthetics and 5% towards “that gut feeling”. The combination of all these traits would in theory make the perfect designer, but can that be taught or is it like entrepreneurship?
Can it be taught?
I believe so, because even though I went to Art School in my youth and continued my education in the same (somewhat) sphere, even though from a digital perspective, I would have never been pushed into that field if my parents hadn’t noticed that I have some sort of talent at a very early age. But in design, as well as entrepreneurship, if you are born with the specific mentality and understanding for the mater then school can only sharpen your already nature-fueled skills.
So what is the point of all this?
So far we have taken both parties separately, analyzed them and found similarities that were bound to pop up. What will happen if these two creatures collaborate or even better – are represented by the same person?
If we take both entities – entrepreneurs and designers – are special creatures, with talents that can be nurtured and if stimulated properly can accomplish amazing feats, and imagine if both those entities could be combined into one, then what will happen?
That is for us to find out in the course of this magazine. I believe that this is the best combination after black and white, Puschkin and Century Gothic, or Tumblr and Yahoo, because both parties have a unique point of view, a certain pattern in finding problems and even more interesting way of solving said problems. So anything that had been a seedling-idea in the head of a design-entrepreneurs certainly something worthwhile. That’s what I think atheist, how about you?
Featured image, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) by Frank Ockenfels/AMC.
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