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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Wouldn't learning entrepreneurship, and how to be an effective capitalist, be better for students with the changing flow of business?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (22148 points ) August 31st, 2011

Business is changing, technology changes the way business operates, also the global business culture. You hardly see a company where you can start work on the docks and if you are there long enough, work your way to an executive office. If you do not have the degree the sheepskin, you best forget about seeing the inside of an office unless you are invited. Even if you have the PhD, etc is no guarantee. At any time, you can become expendable, and forced to take an early retirement, end up terminated and lose your pension.

Would it be better teaching students how to make money than just slaving for a paycheck? Some of the most successful men Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Daymond John, Richard Branson, and Mark Zuckerberg, never completed college or never attended. They were entrepreneurs. They made money, instead of slaving away hours at a time for it. Would not teaching students how to make money instead of being just another cog in the machine or hack on the assembly line better serve them?

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15 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

If you are going to offer up some of the most successful college dropouts in history as your examples how do you propose we “teach that?” Steve Jobs is one of the drop outs of which the college I attended and graduated from is most proud, so I have no issues with that, but how do you teach it, how do you teach being a massively successful drop-out?

Cruiser's avatar

I actually think teaching kids you CAN start at the bottom and work your way to the top would be the best lesson to teach. Sure teaching entrepreneurship is hugely important as well as the need to innovate and create new technologies. But I have seen the message of just having a job, earning a living and towing the line more so than the one if you work hard….harder than the next guy that doors will open for you. Plus I see often people will play it safe and not put in the extra effort and obviously get passed up when a better position opens up.

But IMO this entrepreneurial spirit is often learned outside of school as most of the people I know who are doing or have done something truly special had parents who challenged their kids and gave them opportunities to explore and do outside of the box things starting at very young ages.

Aethelflaed's avatar

If everyone’s an entrepreneur, then who’s going to be the workforce of all the small businesses? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc all got rich by having thousands (millions??) of other people work for them. We train all those thousands to not work for anyone else, Bill and Steve aren’t so rich any more. Same goes for all the 3 doctor businesses employing 5 staff members, or the local hardware store that employs 30 staff members. And then there’s less quality of work, and no one can have a really thriving business.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think you missed the point, @lillycoyote. Just a bit, though. The point isn’t that one should be a dropout to be successful, but that we should learn to be entrepreneurs in the course of more or less “normal” education. @Hypocrisy_Central has a good idea for once.

And it’s not that “everyone” will be an entrepreneur, @Aethelflaed. Most people don’t have the temperament or constitution for it. But I think we absolutely need to teach “more” people that this is a viable choice. In fact, these days it’s going to be more viable than expecting to “work a nine-to-five job” for thirty-five years and retire with a gold watch and a pension. We have to build our own careers, our own businesses.

And small businesses may be a lot more viable in a rapidly shifting economy than many large ones, anyway.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@CWOTUS Well, many (most) colleges have classes in entrepreneurship, small business leadership, small business finance, small business whatever. People just have to choose to take them instead of History of Philosophy 301 or whatever.

zenvelo's avatar

I think a lot of that stuff should be taught in high school. High school should teach a lot of life skills. But “Entrepreneurship”, as much as it can be taught, is probably best for business schools and business courses.

@Hypocrisy_Central Your statement They made money, instead of slaving away hours at a time for it is a common misconception about the work ethic of self-made wealthy individuals. People who are successful work very hard at it, putting in 70, 80, 90 hour weeks when starting out, long hours away from families or working instead of having personal relationships. One should not think that the people you noted had some magic formula to crank out money.

There are lots of stories about Bill Gates sending people home at midnight and completely rewriting code overnight. Steve Jobs, when he was healthy, put in ans many hours as anyone at Apple, staying into the night to refine his products. T. Boone Pickens, in his eighties, is not afraid to get down in the muck of a gas drilling operation. These people are driven in an uncommon manner.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Cruiser I actually think teaching kids you CAN start at the bottom and work your way to the top would be the best lesson to teach. That model doesn’t work in a lot of businesses anymore. I know people who started off at companies like FedEx with some college or an AA, they can go so far then they hit the ”Degree Ceiling”. They get to that level of middle management where to get passed it, they would have to have a BA, MA, at least. They could manage to survive there fifteen years but if they do not have that degree, they do not qualify, even if they knew the job inside and out.

@Aethelflaed If everyone’s an entrepreneur, then who’s going to be the workforce of all the small businesses? Those would be what one supervisor called long ago as ”turtle workers”, those who are not going to extend themselves or take risks. They are happy letting someone else take the lead, they will follow if they believe the direction is sound. If they get a fair wage they are content to clock in, do as they are told, and know they have a set paycheck coming twice a month. They do not have to make any big decisions, therefore, they don’t take any of the blame if things go South.

@CWOTUS @Hypocrisy_Central has a good idea for once. Many, many times, not just once. Look further outside-the-box, you’ll see them. ;-P

@zenvelo People who are successful work very hard at it, putting in 70, 80, 90 hour weeks when starting out, long hours away from families or working instead of having personal relationships. That is true. They did. Daymond John worked hard in the early days of FUBU. I think the one who worked the least hard was Zuckerberg. I meant more to the fact of slaving away for mere money that in the long run had no direct connection to their success, or the success of their company. There are people who put in 70hr weeks but they do not own the company in any capacity, they put in those hours because that is the only way they will get the money. They could work like that the next eight years and the overall payoff would only be as great as someone else deemed it was worth.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central OK then I spent the last 14 years of my life setting a bad example for my kids. I started as a lowly Salesman here….7 years later promoted to General Manager….7 years later I was offered the opportunity to buy the company from the old owner. Why? Because I worked my ass off and proved I was the man he could trust to sell the company to.

Also, 13 years ago we hired a 23 yrd old street punk as a laborer here…he worked his ASS off and 2 years later was promoted to formulator….2 years later got promoted to plant manager and 9 years later agreed to be my partner in buying the company. Why? Because he worked his ass off and earned that opportunity.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Cruiser OK then I spent the last 14 years of my life setting a bad example for my kids. No, you didn’t. I did not say it never happens or was possible. I said, ”That model doesn’t work in a lot of businesses anymore.” There are jobs I had when I was younger I would not get now because they require a degree. I am sure it still happens and is possible, just not as much. Once upon a time all you needed was a high school diploma but that hardly is enough for anything other than direct sales, fast food, a being a prison guard.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I do agree with your sentiments….the bigger concern I have from what I see is the “I want it now” mentality. I look back over my previous jobs and opportunities I passed on where all of them probably would have panned out had I “invested” similar effort and time that I have on this current career I have.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Cruiser …the bigger concern I have from what I see is the “I want it now” mentality. I would heartily agree with you there. I think easy available credit was one of the biggest kryptonite this nation has had. It created generations of ”debt wagers”, I call them. People who can’t make a bold move because they can’t risk a knock in earnings because they have so much debt to pay off. People want it all, and want it now, they live beyond what their right now earnings can give them. They get in now on credit then pay it off, so basically they are working for the debt more than they are working for their future.

Maybe that is part of “The Plan”?

Cruiser's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I will never forget the feeling of bewilderment I felt in my college cafeteria seeing a row of credit card vendors at their tables signing up kid after kid….back then credit cards were a relatively new phenomenon and I couldn’t imagine purchasing something I had no means to pay for and refused to sign up. I look back and can only imagine the trouble many kids got into with this new way to buy things you didn’t have the money to pay for.

robdamel's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central It most definitely can be taught, and I would recommend teaching it to your children. I believe it is better that the spirit of entrepreneurship be a secret passed down between generations, instead of trying to massively teach people. As everyone pointed out, imagine if everyone had the constitution to open their own business? Workforce would be scarce.

You obviously have opened your mind and noticed what the mass doesn’t realize- 90% of people who go to college have the intentions of creating a ‘career’, which means to work for others for the rest of their lives. The other 10% go to college to gain knowledge in an area to work for themselves.

Think about it- Considering the population that earn a salary, how many have become multi-millionaires? Very very few, and that is after years of working in the same company, or years of studying (like medicine).

I can almost safely say that 99% of all multi-millionaires today are people who had vision and who opened their own business. Working for others simply means you are contributing to the wealth of someone above you.

Anyways, congratulations that you noticed what you have.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@robdamel As everyone pointed out, imagine if everyone had the constitution to open their own business? Workforce would be scarce. Even if you gift wrapped entrepreneurism with a bow and handed it to everyone, many would not use it. Some people are just like those who clam up when they have to speak officially to more than three people, where others need a large crowd to feel alive. The more people rooting them on, and cheering for them, the better they seem to feel, as if the adulation of the crowd is food to them. Many people will not want to be that responsible, or trust their decision on making choices that large. They would rather just handle their assignments, their cubicle, or station on the assembly line, get their pay, and be it like that. There will always be a workforce.

robdamel's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central You know what, you are entirely correct, and you took my observations out of my mind. I have always thought about that- I think people who are entrepreneurs are born with the spirit, and some people are simply meant to be the workforce. I would assume its part of nature`s balance. I try to open the mind of my girlfriend for example, but she doesn`t care- Her dream is to achieve high status in the bank she works for- Although she is at this moment pretty high up the ladder already, its amazing how she dreams to work for someone else. She dreams of a high SALARY instead of a high INCOME by working on one`s own. As you mentioned, I guess some people are made to be entrepreneurs, and some are meant to stick with the safe side.

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