Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Articles → Mastering entrepreneurship?

After reading 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 the thing I could really commit myself to a lifetime pursuit of mastery is 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, no finish line, especially since happiness is a crucial barometer.

And if entrepreneurship is about creating a new company, then focusing on that means starting a company, getting it to proof of success, but not getting involved with ongoing management, since management is a different skill. 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 (“making smaller circles”).

In his chess examples, he would spend weeks competing with his teacher with only 2 pieces on the board, to thoroughly understand strategy with just those 2 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 written 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. Please leave any thoughts in the comment box, below. Thanks!